Story

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Sam Kavanagh (center) bronze medalist in the team sprint, London 2012

Hello to you and thank you for visiting our site. I’m Sam Kavanagh. My wife Sara of twelve years, our two children, Amelia (four-years-old) and Nolan (two-years-old) live in Bozeman, MT.  We are originally from Montana and spent the last twelve years in Bozeman, Montana where both of us graduated from Montana State University (Civil Engineering and Elementary Education respectively).  Our family took a short stint to the Denver, CO area, but have been able to move back recently.  Both my wife and I  love the outdoors and actively pursue any opportunity to recreate. I have been an avid skier for most of my life, and the eight years prior to my amputation, I was a competitive cyclist.  I competed in numerous regional cycling events spanning both road and mountain bike disciplines.

Sam Kavanagh rescued after the avalanche that almost took his life

My story as an amputee started on January 1, 2005. While backcountry skiing with close friends, I was caught in an avalanche that resulted in a severe compound fracture of my left Tibia and Fibula. Given the remoteness of our location, I spent 2-days in a tent prior to being airlifted to the regional hospital in Bozeman, Montana. Over the course of my two-day stay in the backcountry I lost over half my blood supply, was experiencing kidney failure, and had life threatening infections in my lower leg. After nine surgeries including the amputation of my left leg below the knee, an extensive stay in the hospital, and months of recovery, I received my first prosthetic leg April 18, 2005. It was during this period that the dream of becoming a paralympic cyclist was born. Initially, adapting to my prosthetic had it setbacks. However, with the desire to be active again I was soon biking regularly, hiking in the mountains of Montana, and with winters arrival was telemark skiing again.

In July 2006 thanks to the encouragement and support of my family and friends I competed in my first US Paralympics National Championships. In the days that followed competition I was invited to participate in 2006 IPC World Championships as the newest member of the US Paralympic Cycling team. One and half short years after losing my leg I had taken a big step towards my dream of being a paralympic cyclist.

Since becoming a member of the US Paralympic Cycling team I have had the opportunity to race my bike against the world’s finest disabled cyclists; most recently receiving the bronze medal  in the Team Sprint at the 2012 London Paralympics.

In pursuing elite athletics as well as pursuing my passion to speak, it is my hope that my actions encourage and inspire others to overcome the obstacle(s) in their life, so that they may achieve all they are capable of, with no regrets. I am a firm believer that being handicapped is a state of mind, and that anything is attainable through dedication, will power, and great support. I have been given a new outlook on life and I do not intend to waste it away complaining about how hard I have it.  I am driven like never before, to accomplish goals I would have once considered too difficult as a non-amputee. It is with this attitude I choose daily to live my life determined to be the best I can be, living a life with out limitations. We all are given hardships in life that challenge us beyond our imagination. I encourage you to join me in facing those challenges with dedication and confidence; you too can live a life without limitations.

Sam and his wife Sara, continue to backcountry skiSam and his wife Sara, continue to backcountry ski

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