Paracycling medallist and Cambridge local Anna Taylor has been nominated in the category Sporting Endeavour in the annual New Zealand Attitude Awards.
The awards, now in their 13th year, celebrate achievements of the disability community.
The 28-year-old has faced a series of injuries and health issues in her sporting journey, but these have not stopped her from continuing in competitive sports – and even receiving a bronze medal in a road World Cup in Canada.
"I used to be a competitive rower, but due to a hip injury, I couldn't do it anymore," she says.
Taylor studied on a full athletic scholarship at Oregon State University when she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. She went into remission, but after leaving university she suffered another injury - a hip labral tear.
During her eight-month rehabilitation in New Zealand, she started rowing once a week, which eventually caused a severe disc prolapse that compressed her spinal cord.
"I wanted to continue competitive sports, so a friend suggested to get involved in parasport," Taylor says.
That cycling became her new passion was more of a coincidence. The sport was suggested to her by Paralympics New Zealand.
Taylor, who is a youth mental health support worker in Hamilton, trains six times a week. She says she does not know why she was nominated for the award.
"Maybe because I am continuing to be involved in sport despite my health condition."
After attending her first paracycling camp in 2018, she was quickly selected for the high-performance squad. A year later, she started at the UCI Paracycling Track World Championships – and won a bronze medal.
"My coach Laura Thompson nominated me for the Attitude Awards. I feel honoured that she thought that I was inspiring enough to be part of this, but honestly, the people I'm up against are just as inspiring," Taylor says.
The black-tie event takes place on December 2 in Auckland and will be broadcast on TVNZ 1 on December 13.