This blog is a shout out to one of my best friends, sisters, and mentor: Katie Ganser. You could say that Katie is one of the major reasons that I am sitting here, in Ireland, typing up this blog for Sport Changes Life. Katie was the senior captain at Merrimack my freshman year. At first Katie and I were not friends…She was very intimidating to me, and even a little scary. Lets just say, I didn’t think that five years later I would driving through the country side of West Cork, Ireland with her. That being said, I am happy that this is how our story has turned out. As my freshman year went on, Katie and I grew to be very close. She became like a sister to me at Merrimack, and I quickly realized that she was someone who was going to do big things! She inspired me to become more involved at Merrimack, and join different clubs and activities. She inspired me to embrace every moment and opportunity that life throws at me. When my freshman year was coming to a close and Katie was graduating I only wished that I could have another year with her. Yet, I knew that we would be life long friends and so that made saying good-bye a little easier. I remember, helping Katie with her application video for Sport Changes Life, and thinking how lucky she was for being apart of such a special organization.
Katie and I constantly stayed in touch throughout her journey here in Ireland, and when she returned home. She inspired me to apply for the program, and promised me that if I got in she would come and visit me. I was so excited when I found out that I got in, I called her right away and was practically in tears! I truly could not have done it without her. She has kept in touch with me throughout my experience here, and has supported me the whole way through.
Now fast-forward almost a year, and Katie finally made her way to Cork. Just like true friendships go, when Katie and I hugged it was like we were still back at Merrimack and no time had gone by. Katie and I went on an adventure through West Cork, and drove all the way to Mizen Head. On the way we attempted to make friends with some cows, however I do not think the feelings were mutual. Mizen Head is known for the lighthouse that once stood on its peak. Fortunately for us, it was one of the sunniest days it has been in Ireland, and we could look out into the ocean for miles.
It was so exciting to get to show Katie around to my friends, and what my experience here in Ireland has been like. Katie has taught me so much and continues to be a role model. I am so grateful to be Katie’s friend, and so grateful that our friendship inspired me to follow my dreams.