As a young child, I spent a considerable amount of time in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices. You see, I was born with congenital heart defects and had to undergo open-heart surgery at the early age of six years old. The surgery was to repair the narrowing of my aorta; the medical term for this defect is coarctation of the aorta. The surgery was a success; however, I still suffer from a ventricular septal defect, in lay terms that means a hole in the heart as well as a bicuspid valve defect that regulates the amount of oxygenated blood flowing throughout my body. Although I was born with these defects, I have not allowed them to keep me from excelling in life. This last defect continues to be a challenge because it often leaves me tired and fatigued, this became more evident while competing in multiple sports in high school. It was there that I was introduced to Olympic weight lifting. It not only improved my athletic performance but it gave me the feeling of being in control of my physical limitations and I fell in love with the sport. Weightlifting came with its own set of challenges and not all of them were physical. In the small town, I come from girls who weight lift are generally teased and made fun of and I was no exception. However, this did not deter me from continuing doing what I love to do. After graduation, I needed something else to compete in so in 2012 I decided to enter a bodybuilding and fitness competition. After this first competition, I knew I had to continue competing in this sport, as it was a way of self-betterment. I competed in two more shows bringing the best version of myself I could bring, every time I step on stage my goal is to beat my previous best. Unfortunately, about a month after my last show in June of 2014 I suffered a grade three AC joint separation in my left shoulder. I am currently undergoing pre-surgery physical therapy in order to strengthen and stabilize my shoulder before surgery this April of 2015. To say this has been a difficult journey would be an understatement but without these trials and hardships, I would not be the person I am today. If my story can be a source of inspiration for people that do not think they can overcome something then my struggles will be worth it. I will be back on stage as the best version of myself yet!