Brenna didn’t grow up on a snowboard—she grew up on the balance beam, with a dream of competing in gymnastics at the highest level. After making the difficult decision to have her right leg amputated due to osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, Brenna felt the pull of snowboarding during a trip to the mountains. The board reminded her of the balance beam. And when she strapped in for her first run, she admitted she was “terrible.” According to her mother, however, snowboarding brought back the light in Brenna’s eyes. Before long, Brenna knew she could have the skill to pursue snowboarding at the highest level if she committed to training and the journey.
“After every event,” Brenna said, “I would go home, train harder and keep coming back better and stronger.”
Brenna’s work ethic never wavered—not even after giving birth to her first child, Lilah, in 2016. Her perseverance again paid off at the Paralympic Winter Games in 2018, where she won two gold medals. While competing in the Games and being a mom is no small feat, Brenna is determined to show both her daughters Lilah and Sloan—and the world—that no matter what life brings, you have to keep striving for your goals.
When I think about my sport and what I want to accomplish within it, it goes beyond just the physical aspect. I want to see more representation.
Brenna’s dedication to both snowboarding and her family are forces that fuel her purpose and—to inspire systemically disadvantaged people everywhere to do what they love and never lose hope. After all, “just because you haven’t seen it done, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.”