Community rallies to support injured Nome-Golovin racer
After a crash during this year’s Nome-Golovin snowmachine race left contestant Ivory Okleasik paralyzed, the community has come together to support her.
“Ivory is one of the most kindhearted young women that I know,” her friend EJ Rochon said. “When I first moved to Nome, I was alone, and she said she saw me in the hallway and she said, ‘I’m going to be friends with her.’ And we were inseparable since then; she spent a lot of time taking care of me when I had my struggles.”
Rochon organized a medical fundraiser so that she could focus on healing and rehabilitation without financial strain. The fundraiser has been seen and shared thousands of times on social media.
“I’m happy that she is starting to open up to having help. She’s kind of an independent woman, and I know it’s hard for somebody like Ivory to ask for help,” Rochon said.
Okleasik is known for her love of the outdoors and never turning down an adventure. Even as she faces the reality she may never walk again, her humor and determined spirit is obvious.
“She’s been in a pretty positive mindset,” her friend EJ Rochon said. “It’s been so inspiring to hear her say, ‘I’m going to do this.’ It’s one day at a time.”
Image at top: Ivory Okleasik shows off her bib number for the 2023 Nome Golovin 200 snowmachine race. Photo courtesy of Ivory Okleasik.