Native Hopes to Encourage Inclusivity in Out of doors…

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CANNOT RACE LACE. Lacey Heward hopes to spread courage through her work as a consultant and blog. (Submitted photos)

What does it mean to be brave? According to Lacey Heward, Mondovi resident and two-time Paralympic medalist, bravery means showing up and being 100% authentic. That’s why she started her blog, Brave Lace, hoping to inspire everyone — regardless of their age or ability — to step up and be brave.

Growing up in Idaho, where skiing was a big part of her family, Heward watched her four older siblings come back from their local mountain with big smiles after just skiing down it. Heward, who is partially paralyzed from the waist down, decided she wanted to experience the same high that her older siblings got from skiing.

I really want to help people. I want to be that confidant, that person who can help people find the answers within themselves.

LACEY HEWARD

Paralympic and Accessibility Advocates

“It wasn’t until I actually skied that I really fell in love with him,” Heward said. “First I had to get out of my clunky wheelchair; Second, I have to go down the same slopes and ride the same chairlift with everyone else.”

Heward was 14 when she took up skiing and was 22 when she competed in the 2002 Paralympic Games, where she won two bronze medals.

“After I finished my first race, I really wanted to win and that was my goal,” said Heward. “I was sort of the aspiring athlete on my team and the following year I became the fastest monoskier in the world.”

Lacey and her husband on the first purpose-built adaptive mountain bike trails in Minnesota’s Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area.

Along with her skiing ventures, Heward decided that biking seemed like the next step in her outdoor recreation journey and found that her true cycling calling was mountain biking.

“I can go off-road with my mountain bike, I can go singletrack, and I can go up a really steep hill that I couldn’t climb in my wheelchair,” Heward explained.

Heward’s bike was made in Colorado by a company called ReActive Adaptations. Her special bike called “The Bomber” keeps her in a forward position suitable for her spinal cord injury and balance.

Heward started mountain biking in Idaho and pursued her passion after moving to the Chippewa Valley. Their main goal now is to ensure that the hiking trails in the area have a universal design, which according to the National Disability Agency is to design an environment that is accessible to all people regardless of their size and can be used as widely as possible. age and ability.

Heward is the first adaptive representative on the Wisconsin State Trails Council. She joined the board hoping to bring the ideas behind the universal design to local bike lanes.

“There are a lot of people in my minority who can’t use their voice,” Heward said. “Because they either don’t get the opportunity or they can’t physically use their voice or they don’t sound like us. I’m really doing all of these things to raise awareness about disabilities and our need for outdoor recreation.”

Now, Heward continues to push for accessibility in all areas, especially trails. She is currently a peer recovery consultant at At The Roots in Altoona and uses her experience to help others in any way she can. She continues to use her blog to try and inspire others to push themselves, no matter their circumstances.

Lacey at a nip on Lowes Creek.

Lacey at a nip on Lowes Creek.

“I really want to help people,” Heward said. “I want to be that confidant, that person who can help people find the answers within themselves.”

You can check out Lacey’s blog at bravelace.com.