Anyone who has read The Deja vu Chronicles knows that Kathryn is a survivor. She’s fierce. This is a trait that doesn’t come easily – she had to battle against her weaknesses and fears until the day she became one of the fiercest pirates that sailed the Caribbean Seas.
Many have done the same (not necessarily becoming a pirate, although many of us would like to) – battling uphill against impossible odds, finding a way to “stay in the game,” and come out on top – even when the top doesn’t look the way it was supposed to look.
These people are survivors. Fierce. I’ve decided to share their stories here.
Jill Kinmont (Boothe)
fierce skier & survivor
Many of you know that my dad was a three-time Olympic skier (downhill, GS and slalom). He raced during the years that Jill Kinmont raced. In fact, he won the men’s division of the race in which she broke her back.
I had the opportunity to meet Jill many years ago during a family vacation to California. Dad took a detour and drove us to meet his teammate. She greeted us from her wheelchair, inside her small house in Bishop, CA. Hands that turned inward could not take my hand, but her smile and sparkling eyes reached out to welcome me.
Jill’s story has been shared in various mediums, written into a book, and made into movie. While the movie sensationalizes some of Jill’s events, the message is clear – she was a fighter, who did not allow paralysis to stop her from doing good in the lives of others.
In 1955, while running a prelimary race (Snow Cup) that would determine the 1956 Olympic ski team, Jill crashed into a small pine tree and then into a spectator. The near-fatal fall broke her neck, ending her career as an athlete. Dad and my grandmother talk often of Jill’s accident at Alta Ski Resort. They stayed with her in the hospital until Jill’s family arrived. Their memories of Jill, throughout this ordeal, speak of her determination to get through the devastation, battle against the odds, and come out on top.
Paralyzed from the neck down, Jill would never ski again. Confined to a wheelchair, she was unable to move her hands, only shifting weight through her shoulders to move an arm, when I met her. But her spirit soared and I was happy to see her and dad exchange a joyful discussion about family, skiing, and life. Paralysis would not dampen her spirits or prevent her from a happy, productive life.
Jill did just that – making another mark in history as a teacher in several states. Her students remember her and thank her for her example. Countless associates have written about her determined spirit. Dad remembers a good friendship from a fellow skier.
Indeed, Jill Kinmont was fierce – a survivor and example.