Encinitas Paralympian battles back from life threatening illness to make U.S. triathlon team

Amy Dixon
Posted at 5:26 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 16:42:49-04

ENCINITAS, Calif. (KGTV) -- There are 13 members of the United States Parlalympic Triathlon team, which includes Encinitas resident Amy Dixon.

The 45-year-old Dixon is a first time Paralympian, although she may be the first to tell you, she considers herself lucky to be a part of the team.

"I really had low expectations, but for whatever reason, the universe put everything together on the day and I managed to qualify and I'm so grateful."

Although she is ranked 6th in the world, she had good reason to have low expectations. Unfortunately for Dixon in the months prior to the Paralympic Triathlon Team Trials, she suffered a serious health crisis that almost killed her.

The autoimmune disease that caused her to lose 98% of her eyesight as a child, surprisingly came out of remission.

"It turned out I had multiple bilateral embolisms in both lungs. I ended up in the hospital on blood thinners, and then I ended up with what is called an infarction. A myocardial infarction is called a heart attack, this is a lung infarction and part of my lung tissue died. So I've lost some lung function."

However, Amy is a fighter, and despite nearly losing her life, she pushed through the pain to earn a spot on team U.S.A.

"I knew I was going to do everything in my power to do it. I even had doctors as recently as two weeks before the Paralympic Team Trials in Wisconsin say, are you sure this is a good idea? I said no, it's a terrible idea, but I am doing it anyway. I knew that I had it in me, and I was able to put together the race that I knew I needed to qualify."

She now heads to Tokyo, but not necessarily with the goal of bringing home a gold medal.

I'm just grateful to make the team, let alone be able to perform, complete a race, or be competitive. I'm not counting myself out for sure, but my goal is to have the best day that my body gives me on the day."