Caitlin Sarubbi is a Harvard undergraduate studying Social and Cognitive Neuroscience and a United States Paralympian who competed in all five alpine ski racing events in the 2010 Paralympic Games in Vancouver finishing with two 6th and an 8th place. These goals would have been more than aspirational for anyone, especially for someone who, 22 years ago when Caitlin was born, had the goal just to survive.
Caitlin was born with Ablepharon Macrostomia that left her legally blind and partially hearing impaired. Caitlin was born without eyelids and other facial deformities which have caused her to undergo over 63 reconstructive surgeries beginning when she was just four days old.
It all began on February 22, 1990 when Cathy and John Sarubbi, a New York City firefighter, welcomed their first of five children. The pregnancy went exactly according to plan and everything was great, unfortunately, it wasn't smooth sailing from there. When Caitlin was born, the doctors didn't even think she was going to live through the night. Three days later, she had her first surgery to salvage any eyesight she had left. She has always been fortunate and blessed to have the top surgeons in the world as her doctors. She will be forever grateful for the doctors who saved her life and inspired her to follow in their footsteps.
From Humble Beginnings to the Tops of Mountains
You may ask yourself, how did a city girl from New York ever become a ski racer. Caitlin father is a New York City firefighter, and after 9/11 Caitlin’s family was invited as special guests to Breckenridge, CO by an organization called Disabled Sports USA for their annual Hartford Ski Spectacular. This event changed Caitlin’s life forever. Skiing unleashed a feeling of freedom in her that she had never experienced before. She felt like she was on top of the world, and that nothing could ever stand in her way. For the first time Caitlin felt that there were no boundaries, no limits, no disability. From that week, Caitlin found a new passion...ski racing. Caitlin was fortunate enough to join the family of The Adaptive Sports Foundation, which served as the best place to continue this incredible journey. Windham Mountain, home of the Adaptive Sports Foundation, serves as the perfect environment to learn how to ski.
Best. Week. Ever
With the goals of qualifying for the United States Adaptive Ski Team and attending a good college in mind, Caitlin spent high school balancing a rigorous course load and a highly demanding ski racing schedule. In junior year, she kicked both her academics and skiing into high gear. Caitlin started training with the Challenge Aspen Competition Team, all the while, trying to meet the academic qualifications necessary for admission to an Ivy League University. In April 2008, all of Caitlin’s hard work paid off, ironically, all within 3 days. On April 1st, Caitlin received her acceptance letter from Harvard University admitting her into the college, and on April 3rd, Caitlin received the call that she had qualified for the United States Adaptive Ski Team. It was one of the happiest weeks of her life, because it was the fruition of dreams coming true and she realized that everything that she had sacrificed over the past few years, and all of her hard work had all paid off. It was in this week, that Caitlin‘s thoughts that with determination, hard work and a great support system, you could achieve anything you set your mind to, was solidified.
Road to the 2010 Vancouver Paralympics
In the fall of 2008, Caitlin completed her first semester at Harvard. With Harvard's blessing, Caitlin took a three semester leave of absence so that she could commit herself full time to training and racing in hopes of competing in the 2010 Paralympics. Caitlin did well on the world cup circuit and raced her way to a 2nd place finish in the 2010 World Cup Finals Super G race, which was held two days after Caitlin sustained an injury in a downhill race. This was the last race before the start of the 2010 Games, which set up great momentum going into the biggest races of Caitlin’s life. Caitlin earned a spot to race in all five alpine events at the 2010 Paralympic Games, and she finished with two 6th place and an 8th place finish. Having just turned 20 years old 2 weeks before the start of the Games, Caitlin was the youngest athlete on the Paralympic Alpine Team.
Life following the 2010 Paralympic Games
After the Games ended, Caitlin had returned to Harvard in the fall of 2010 to continue her studies. She is currently majoring in Social and Cognitive Neuroscience, and has obtained great internships with Grey Group Advertising, Dow Chemical Company, and The Procter and Gamble Company to occupy her summers. Caitlin currently does various speaking engagements for many companies to share her story and help inspire others. Caitlin plans on taking another leave of absence from Harvard to train and compete for a spot on the 2014 Paralympic Team. Sochi, Russia, here she comes!
SUPPORT CAITLIN PAGE
Currently, Caitlin does not have a corporate sponsor, and being a visually impaired ski racing is a great financial bursen for her family.
Being a visually impaired ski racer requires more financially, because the adaptive equipment for a VI racer is a guide. Caitlin is responsible for providing equipment, travel fees, race fees, training fees etc for not only herself, but her guide as well. In the 2010 Paralympics, Caitlin was also required to pay her guide a salary on top of that, which led to a total budget for the 2009-10 season of $106,000.00. Going forward for the 2014 Games, Caitlin’s sister Jamie has graciously volunteered to be Caitlin’s guide in order to defer some of the cost, as she is not requesting a salary.
If you would like to support Caitlin anD her sister’s quest to the 2014 Paralympic Games as a corporate sponsor., please contact Caitlin through the “contact us” tab.
If you would like to make a secure donation to Caitlin’s cause, please follow the link below. All donations are tax deductible. Tax information found on the linked page
Caitlin and her family very much appreciate your support of her goal of representing her country at the 2014 Paralympic Games.