Allysa is known for her competitiveness and determination, a mindset that has enabled her to break barrier after barrier as she achieves her goals. After winning the Paratriathlon World Championships two years in a row, Allysa realized a dream in September 2016 by winning gold at the Paralympics in Rio. It was the first time triathlon was offered as a Paralympic event.
In 2010, Allysa was diagnosed with Chiari II malformation, basilar invagination and Ehlers-Danlos syndrome, a combination of brain, spinal and connectivity disorders. As soon as she was diagnosed, Allysa went through brain and spinal surgery to stop her condition from progressing. Although she fought her way back to participate in collegiate triathlon nationals just a few months after surgery, three years later complications from Allysa’s condition resulted in her left leg being amputated below the knee.
In addition to the loss of her limb, Allysa suffers from muscle weakness and imbalance, chronic pain, autonomic nervous system issues and other complications due to her condition. She was told she would be lucky if she ever walked unaided again – but Allysa doesn’t make excuses. Instead, she used everyone’s doubt as fuel to motivate her to become what she is today – an athlete at the top of her sport.
To Allysa, rare diseases are no handicap. Currently, Allysa is a full-time athlete who trains 7 days a week. She is a daughter, a sister, a caretaker of two dogs, a dance instructor, a training partner, and a friend to many.