Ice Skater Mirai Nagasu wants to win Facebook’s O.C. Tanner Inspiration Award. Not for herself, but for her mom, Ikuko who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer last fall.
The contest gives American Olympic and Paralympic athletes the opportunity to post a short essay about a special person who has “encouraged their dream.” Four winners will be chosen by O.C. Tanner, the US Olympic Committee and public voting through the social networking site – receiving a 14k gold commemorative ring engraved with a laurel crown and the words “Inspire, Olympian, and Mentor” in Greek.
Here’s Mirai’s touching tribute:
“My mother is a super-mom, with no extraordinary powers except her willingness to serve and love others entirely. She’s given herself and her life to supporting the dreams of her family- for my father, owning and running a successful Japanese restaurant, and for me pursuing a professional ice-skating career. And between those 2 dreams, she works overtime, clocking in at the restaurant and chauffeuring me to practice and events.
Ice skating is a demanding and very expensive sport – with costly equipment, elaborate costumes, coaching and ice fees. It has been hard for my family to support me. Yet somehow, my parents have always pulled through.
A typical day for my mother included juggling the restaurant with my schedule. It wasn’t uncommon for me to sleep in a storage closet while she worked at the family business. After cleaning and closing we’d return home at 11:00 pm, to wake up a few hours later and drive to ice skating practice at 5:00 am. From there she took me to school, and then returned to the restaurant for the afternoon shift. She’d pick me up from school, drop me off at ballet, and return to working again to the restaurant. She kept this grueling schedule to support my dreams. Sleep deprived and worked to the bone, she has inspired me to never give up. Watching her sacrifice for me inspires me to push forward. How could I see my mom wearing clothes with holes in them so I could afford lessons, and not be grateful?
Her recent battle with cancer hasn’t slowed her down. Through treatments and surgeries she insists on supporting me – even coming home one day after surgery to drive me to the rink. I would like to see my mom become a recipient of the Inspiration Award because she really deserves to be recognized for all of her hard work.”
You can visit Appreciation-Facebook to read more motivational stories and vote for your favorite, regardless if you are a Facebook member or not.