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My disability doesn't define me, Stanford rowing does

Just over a decade ago, I had an accident that left me blind in my right eye. I was 10 years old at the time and every day since I have worn an artificial ‘glass’ eye.

Forced to give up many sports, I spent 2 years adrift before I found solace in rowing. The camaraderie and support of my teammates uplifted me. It allowed me to see myself in a new light - beyond my disability. It gave me purpose and direction.

A few years into rowing, one of my coaches died in an accident on the river where I trained, and by the end of senior year of high school, there would only be me and one cox who remained in our class. When it came to being recruited, many coaches decided I wasn’t worth the effort. A more conventional rower would be better suited for their teams.

Stanford men’s rowing saw beyond this, recruiting me and giving me a chance to excel. Stanford rowing is a place where I can row and study at the highest level possible. But it is also so much more. It has pushed me outside of the bubble that I grew up in, to meet and learn from a wide range of people that have challenged me to become not only a better rower but also a better person. Training everyday at the varsity level for Stanford among the most committed and perseverant students I have ever met is a true honour. I’m proud to stay that being a member of Stanford men’s rowing defines me more than a disability ever could.

To go to the national championship as a varsity athlete and wear the Stanford S on your chest is an experience that every man and woman who came through the doors of the boathouse remembers. I hope that I and others will be able to continue that legacy.

-Nick Mayhew, Class of 2022

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