GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) - One local cyclist has been invited to be a part of 120 athletes to represent the United States in the 2013 Summer Deaflympics.
John Klish is a deaf athlete taking part in the 2013 Deaflympics in Sofia, Bulgaria. His journey to this point has not been easy. Born deaf, doctors told his mother to enroll him in an institution, send him off to deaf school, but she knew there was a better way.
"My mom believed there was more potential to me than that."
Through 18 years of speech therapy, he was able to attend school and play sports, but communicating was always a struggle.
"I have to lip read," he said. "Everyone's lips are different. I explain to people and say that I'm deaf before we start."
Aside from experiencing life as a deaf athlete, Klish was diagnosed with testicular cancer at the age of 25, and through two major surgiers and chemotherapy he came out strong.
"You know, death is a part of the life circle, and it made me live life a little bit more fuller."
But there was yet another bump in the road.
"Two years ago, I hit depression. That taught me how to find that balance and slow down and be respectful to yourself, be kind to yourself. All those experiences throughout life have led me to here today."
Now, John has countless awards to prove he is no quitter.
"I'm showing them that we can do whatever you're doing out there," he said. "We can be there. I'm not trying to fit in, I'm trying to belong to where I want to be."
John is responsible for raising his own funds to compete in the event. He needs $7,500.00 to cover equipment, travel expenses, and entrance fees; he hopes to reach that goal by May 31st.
To find out more about Klish or to give a donation, visit the link below.