Centra “Ce-Ce” Mazyck is a super-mom, a woman who laid down her life for her country and a self proclaimed “adrenaline junkie.” But looking at her you wouldn’t know that she’s also a 22-time national wheelchair veterans gold medalist!
But that’s not the amazing thing about Ce-Ce. She is a survivor and defied all odd against her to walk again.
In 1994, Mazyck was enrolled at Bauder College in Atlanta, taking classes to become a fashion stylist. But one year into her two-year program, she realized that she wanted more — so she joined the Army Reserve.
“I went in there with the mindset of only doing school,” explains Mazyck to Upworthy.com. “But at the end of the day, I fell in love with it.” Which probably isn’t that surprising — the military is in her blood! Her mother, her uncles, and her grandfather were all in the military too.
In 1997, Mazyck went on active duty and joined the 82nd Airborne Division in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
It tested her body and mind unlike anything else she had ever done. At one point, it got so tough that she even briefly thought about quitting. But after watching one of her favorite inspirational movies (“G.I. Jane”) and having a heartfelt conversation with her female sergeant about the lack of women in the division, Mazyck reminded herself why she wanted to do this.
“The next day,” she says, “I was jumping out of the airplane.”
And for the next six years, Mazyck flourished.
Everything changed in November 2003.
As a graduate of Jumpmaster School, she showed the courage and sense of adventure that embodies the 82nd. But four years ago, on a windy November day at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Mazyck became entangled with a fellow jumper and began plunging to the rapidly approaching ground.
The two jumpers untangled themselves just feet above the ground. The next thing the First Sergeant remembered was of drop-zone medics cutting away boots and clothing.
Upon waking up in the hospital, Mazyck was given a devastating prognosis: paralyzed from the waist down with little chance of ever walking again.
Sometimes stubbornness is the best attribute for a disabled veteran. The First Sergeant wouldn’t take that diagnosis as gospel and began the grueling rehabilitation process at the VA Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia.
Sports became a cornerstone of rehabilitation. Mazyck became a competitive athlete in basketball, weightlifting, slalom and softball.
A three-time Winter Sports Clinic participant, she also discovered the “miracles” that take place on this beautiful mountainside.
Through painstaking rehabilitation and the spirit that embodies this clinic, Mazyck is now able to walk again with the help of a cane.
“Everything that I went through — my mental toughness, my physical toughness,” says Mazyck, “it was all because of [Tristen].”
Once she had recovered physically, Mazyck set two new goals to find purpose after her military service: finishing her education and training for the Paralympics.
She had learned about wheelchair games while in rehab and, in 2005, actually competed at the…