Home | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising | El Centinela
Catholic Sentinel | Portland, OR Sunday, February 14, 2016
CYO Football 2015 2015 Priest Reassignments, Archdiocese of Portland Cardinal Francis George dies Mothering with faith Sisters of the Holy Names, 2015 Live Nativity at St. John the Baptist 2014 Fall CYO results Catholic Charities Donor Lunch 2014 Year of Consecrated Life opening Mass Holy Spirit Sisters Jubilee 2014 Seaside youth conference Mount Angel 125th Northwest Hub Furlow at papal Mass 2014 Rosary Bowl NW Brother André 2014 Fall 40 Days for Life 2014 Inauguration of Fr. Mark Poorman Coffee shop at abbey First day of school, 2014 Regis High School 50th anniversary 2014 Crooked Finger Pilgrimage Mass with migrant farm workers Maronite Ordination Consecration to "Immaculate Heart of Our Lady of Fatima" CYO track Southern Oregon Evangelization 2014 Priest Ordination Christ the King youth 2014 priest reassignments Our Lady of Lavang Confirmation, 2014 Memorial Day 2014 2014 Transitional deacon ordination Padre Foster Granados visits Albany Bishop Smith ordination Canonization of Pope John Paul II, Pope John XXIII Bishop Peter Smith 2014 Easter Vigil 2014 Walk of Cross 2014 Chrism Mass CYO basketball 2014 St. Patrick of the Forest 150th Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope, 2014 Boys2Men Archbishop visits Oregon State Penitentiary 40 Day Vigil for Life, 2014 Pope Francis creates new cardinals St. Henry shelter 2014 CYO swimming Funeral of Fr. George Wolf Travel on a budget Lunar New Year, 2014 Tech in Catholic schools 2014 Right to Life Rally Archbishop visits Santiam Prison First Mass in Oregon Milwaukie Posada St. Francis, Sherwood, Toy Drive Central Catholic football Typhoon Haiyan Deacon Ordination/ Kresbach, Schmitt A Catholic fisherman St. Cecilia Centennial Southern Oregon Welcome Mass Shepherd of the Valley, Central Point, dedication Grotto Anniversary 2013 Champions of Faith Dinner Gardenripe farms Coleman hop farm Corvallis Year of Faith Archbishop Howard at St. Rose Hitchhiking priests Franciscan Spiritual Center Sacred Heart, Medford Migrant Mass Tanzanians' jubilee World Youth Day 2013 2013 Blessing of the Animals 2013 Freedom Mass Albany school closure Fabric art Megan graduates from Catholic school St. Vincent de Paul Hillsboro 2013 Deacon ordination Sister Theresa Lamkin St. Helen Mission, Brownsville Marist Brainiacs St. Mary, Eugene St. Francis eighth graders Ascension confirmation 2013 Pastoral Ministry Conference St. Joseph Salem — Year of Faith Archbishop Sample's Installation Mass 2013 Archbishop Sample Chrism Mass 2013 2013 Young Catholics Pope Francis inauguration Celebration of Hope Vlazny Farewell Mass Archbishop Vlazny Farewell St. Paul Church in St. Paul Valley Catholic Green Building Rite of Election 2013 Water summit 2013 Lunar New Year Alveda King in Eugene New Monsignors, 2013 2013 Right to Life Rally MLK Mass, 2013 St. Henry, Gresham, Centennial Jesuit High drama School uniforms Friar in the mall Holy Trinity food ministry January Book Covers St. Andre Bessette food Year of Faith Mass Nestucca Sanctuary Hillsboro Choirs Father Betschart installation Salem Religious Freedom Rally Year of Faith Vespers, Awards Roy's Catholic School Adelante Mujeres 10th anniversary New Blanchet House Missionaries of Holy Spirit Priest, religious photos Providence Nursing Schools Pioneros Fortnight for Freedom Mark Bentz Deacon Ordination OLL School Walk Through Gaga over science St. Philip Neri Centennial Ordination of Bishop Cary SVDP, Grants Pass Holy Cross School centennial Confirmation - Mount Angel Holy Land Pilgrimage Blanchet Watershed Chrism Mass, 2012 Bishop-designate Cary Pope in Cuba, 2012 SSMO 125th Jubilee Mass Pope Benedict in Mexico 2012 Catholic Charities Celebration 2012 Madeleine Mardi Gras Centennial Rally for Life, 2012 Martin Luther King Jr. Mass 2012 Day Laborers-Guadalupe Guadalupe 2011 Christ the King, Milwaukie, 50th Sesame Doughnuts Central Catholic Volleyball St. Peter Centennial Deacon Ordination, October 2011 St. Agatha Centennial Rosary Bowl 2011 St. Wenceslaus, Scappoose, Centennial Filipino celebration Polish Festival 2011 Holy War Football 2011 World Youth Day 2011 Sun Gold Farm Our Lady of Victory's New Church Freedom Mass 2011 St. Mary Church Steeple Removal Priest reassignments, 2011 Old Catholic Buildings Paige Rice, St. Mary's runner Graduation 2011 Easter vigils 2011 Pastoral Ministry Conference Basketball Holy War 2011 Search for Peace 2011

Mt Angel Towers 8.13

Home : News : Nation and World
Visually impaired Paralympian says slopes give her a sense of freedom
Catholic News Service photo
Caitlin Sarubbi, right, a 23-year-old Paralympic skier from Brooklyn, N.Y., who was born with Ablepharon macrostomia syndrome, a condition that causes vision impairment, poses with her sister Jamie, her guide. In 2010 a second-place finish in the 2010 Wo rld Cup
Catholic News Service photo
Caitlin Sarubbi, right, a 23-year-old Paralympic skier from Brooklyn, N.Y., who was born with Ablepharon macrostomia syndrome, a condition that causes vision impairment, poses with her sister Jamie, her guide. In 2010 a second-place finish in the 2010 Wo rld Cup "Super G" race cemented her spot on the U.S. team for the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Catholic News Service

BROOKLYN, N.Y. — For Caitlin Sarubbi, "seeing" is certainly not "believing."

How could "seeing" be "believing" for her, since the 23-year-old was born with Ablepharon macrostomia syndrome, a condition that causes vision impairment?

Instead, Sarubbi doesn't need to "see" clearly to "believe." She's spent her whole life believing in her abilities, and it's led to an impressive pedigree as a Paralympic skier.

In 2010, a second-place finish in the 2010 World Cup "Super G" race cemented her spot on the U.S. team for the Winter Paralympics in Vancouver, British Columbia. She competed in five alpine skiing events. She finished with two sixth places and an eighth place.

Early in 2013, she decided to take a leave from studying at Harvard to train for the 2014 Winter Paralympics, taking place March 7-16 in Sochi, Russia. Unfortunately, during training she suffered a concussion and didn't make the U.S. team when it was finalized in February.

But whatever disappointment there may be in this Catholic athlete not making it to Sochi, Sarubbi's success on the slopes thus far is remarkable, especially for someone doctors said wouldn't live through the night when she was born.

Ablepharon macrostomia literally means "born without eyelids." The condition forced her to undergo more 70 reconstructive surgeries beginning at just 4 days old. There are only about 14 cases of this condition documented in the world.

The daughter of a New York firefighter, Sarubbi experienced a life-changing event with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. After the attacks, Disability Sports U.S.A., an organization in Breckinridge, Colo., invited firemen with children with disabilities to Colorado for a week of skiing.

For the first time in her life, Sarubbi felt no limitations because of her condition. On the slopes, she experienced the feeling of freedom that allowed the sport to become her new passion.

Back home, she joined a local chapter of Disability Sports U.S.A. called the Adaptive Ski Foundation based at Windham Mountain in Upstate N.Y. The borough of Brooklyn isn't exactly known for its picturesque skiing mountains, so Windham became Sarubbi's primary training location.

Since she's classified as a visually impaired skier, Sarubbi requires the assistance of a guide who skis down the mountain in front of her. Her guide is her younger sister Jamie -- a student at the University of Notre Dame in Indiana -- and the two communicate constantly via headset about mountain pitches and changes in snow condition.

Between her academic course load in high school at Dominican Academy in Manhattan and training with the Adaptive Ski Foundation, Sarubbi had a rigorous schedule. But all her hard work paid off. In April 2008 she was accepted into Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., and then she qualified for the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team.

After completing her first semester at Harvard in the fall of 2008, Sarubbi took a three-semester leave of absence to train full time for the 2010 Winter Paralympics in Vancouver.

Sarubbi had just turned 20 years old two weeks before the Paralympics -- making her the second youngest athlete on the entire U.S. team. She was the only U.S. Paralympian asked to carry the torch during the opening ceremony.

She returned to Harvard and completed five semesters, but took another leave from school to train for Sochi.

"I said to myself, 'This is as good a time as any to be able to put my real life on hold and try for one more time,'" Sarubbi told The Tablet, newspaper of the Brooklyn Diocese, where she and her family are lifelong members of Resurrection Parish in Gerritsen Beach.

She made the comments in an interview in late 2013 -- before her dream to go to Sochi came to an end.

But even then she seemed to take that possibility in stride.

"I'm a big believer in 'everything happens for a reason' and 'God only gives you what you can handle,'" Sarubbi said in that interview. "Not only before but even now through training, God has a plan for everyone. If he wants us to go (to Sochi), we'll go."

Sarubbi has certainly experienced her share of obstacles in her young life, but through it all, she's remained grounded in her Catholic faith. Her mother, Cathy, gave her daughter a cross necklace and rosary beads that Caitlin wears for every race.

Eventually, Sarubbi plans to finish her social and cognitive neuroscience degree at Harvard. She'd like to someday be a neurologist or psychiatrist, since she was inspired by the doctors who saved her life as a child.

Article Comment Submissions
Submit your comments, please. 
Comments are reviewed before being posted to the site. Comments must use respectful language and address the story. Comments are not posted immediately to the site. The site editor may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours. Comments may also be considered to appear as letters in our print edition, unless the writer specifices no.
Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Mary Jo Tully ~ The Path to Resurrection

News | Viewpoints | Faith & Spirituality | Parish and School Life | Entertainment | Obituaries | Find Churches and Schools | About Us | Subscriptions | Advertising
E-Newsletter | RSS Feeds

© 2016 Catholic Sentinel, a service of Oregon Catholic Press

Software © 1998-2016 1up! Software, All Rights Reserved