Bandana Blast: Join Zoe and Kristin as they share their journey to Tokyo through #ZoesPack






Thanks to everyone who helped me get on my bike in our last campaign and learned a little about disability and sports diplomacy along the way! When combined with other grants, we raised enough $$ to buy the TWO frames I needed to compete this season--a track tandem and road tandem of my own.  But, there's a bit of a problem. There are a lot of important components on this bike that are missing...

Bright red tandem frame with DURATEC emblazoned on it. Across the top white stars on a royal blue background. The frame has no saddles, pedals, handbars, gears or chains attachedThis is my new Track tandem! It a red Duratec with custom blue paint and white stars on the top tube. Right now, I only have the frame. Track bikes are built for racing and do not have brakes for that reason! Remember what it felt like to get your first car? Freedom! That is how a tandem feels to me!

a Calfee tandem bicycle frame with no components attached. The frame is deep red with no decorations.This is my new Road tandem. It is a Calfee that is a deep red with some black. Right now I only have the frame and need to build this bike with various components. Oh the places this bike will go! 

It's really hard to cycle with no pedals to push, no seat to sit on, no handlebars to grasp, no gears to crank, no brakes to stop us, and, oh yes, some wheels would be pretty useful too!   

We're inviting you to join #ZoesPack and have your favorite pup wear their #ZoesPack bandana with pride. Each bandana is hand created just for you by a Seeing Eye puppy raiser. As a special offer our super bandana crafter will also create a second bandana with the name of your pup or pups. Just make sure to leave a comment with their names when checking out. 

But that's not all. We invite you to sponsor #Zoespack bandanas for other working guide dogs. Each bandana you sponsor will be sent to a working guide or service dog so they can be the the best-dressed pack members around. We will be featuring some of these dogs and their handlers on our page and highlighting their workplaces. 

Join in the fashion fun and help me cycle my way to gold today, while helping us get the #ZoesPack message out! By wearing #Zoespack bandanas your pets can be a part of helping us draw more people into our work on social media about equal access, creating accessible products and services, and hiring people with disabilities. We can't wait to see all your DiploDogs wearing their new kerchiefs and talking about who Zoe is and the work she does on social media. 

Zoe's bandana collection

Two embroidered #Zoespack bandanas, left one is blue paisley background with a black edge. Right one is red background with white paisley pattern. These are samples of two of the #ZoesPack bandanas that will be sent in a variety of  red and blue patterns.

If you were not part of our earlier campaign, here is my story:  

My name is Kristin Fleschner, I am a passionate athlete, lawyer and disability advocate.

A few months ago I left my career of eleven years in the federal government to pursue my dreams of being a para athlete. I was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes at the age of 13. When I was 25 I received a pancreas transplant which treated my type one diabetes, but, unfortunately, caused other unexpected effects. One of those was vision loss. Since then, I've had countless surgeries and well over one hundred painful eye injections. But, I learned that challenges are opportunities in disguise. Exercise was always important to me and I quickly learned to run with a guide and cycle on a tandem and, during my final year at Harvard Law School, I ran the Boston Marathon.  

Cycling has always been my love and this year I had the chance to train at the Olympic Training Center with other blind athletes at a cycling camp. Working with an amazing pilot, Liesel McAllister, we went on to compete in the Para Road National Championships taking gold in the road race and silver in the time trial. Between now and 2020 we will be competing in the Cycling Track National Championship in Colorado Springs in December, and, at many other domestic and international races in 2019. Our goal is to compete with Team USA in the 2020 Paralympics in Tokyo.

Competing at this level takes a lot of dedication and it must be treated as a full time job. But, cycling competitively is an expensive sport, the right bicycle can shave seconds off your time. Travel to and from races is just one of the myriad of prohibitive costs. As a blind athlete this is is doubly expensive. I need to cover all these costs for myself and my pilot and we have twice as much gear to purchase, and, our bikes are much more expensive. 

I have been racing on borrowed bikes. Having our own custom built bike will make all the difference. Would you run in someone else's shoes? Nope! Liesel and I rode someone else's bike in track training a couple of months ago and we both went home with numb hands! Thanks to your generous support I have been able to buy my own bike frames, now I need your help making them ridable! 

To learn more about my work on disability issues please visit my webpage  Join #ZoesPack to learn about living with blindness through the work of my guide dog, Zoe. #ZoesPack @ZoetheSeeingEyeDog on Facebook And Instagram. Through our pages Zoe and I answer hundreds of questions about blindness and, we have raised tens of thousands of dollars to sponsor guide dog placements. Thank you for helping me realize my dreams and continue to demonstrate that it is always possible to turn challenges into opportunities.

Thank you for your continued support and for being a part of #ZoesPack! 

Kristin Fleschner 

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