Meritt McKittrick

Godley, TX

Hi Cole! My name is Meritt McKittrick, I’m from Texas and I would just like to share my story with you and tell you how I have used “Heart Has No Limit” in my life. I apologize in advance for how long this will be. I was injured in a car accident when I was 5 years old in 2006. I was never treated differently from other kids even though I was bound to a wheelchair with about an 85% chance of never walking again. It did get harder once I got to middle school, though. My friends were going places and staying the night together, which was a challenge for me. Not being able to have, as much fun with your friends would be a challenge for any teenage girl. I got through it only to meet by the same challenge but on a higher level in high school, and I am still dealing with it going into my junior year. There have been some positive things to come out of my disability such as going to therapy to improve my leg strength and possibly walking again one day, and adaptive sports. I got introduced to wheelchair sports my 8th grade year and was able to compete in track and field for my school. The UIL made it to where wheelchair athletes could compete at the State track meet in Austin, Texas a few years before that but I wasn’t well known, and it still really isn’t. I qualified for State in my first year as a freshman but didn’t place. I was even more determined to qualify and get a medal my sophomore year. There were some really fast girls ahead of my but being as competitive as I am, I wanted to beat them. I got third place in both the 100 meters and the 400 meters as a sophomore but I will still be pushing to get the gold this next year. I am always told to race with my heart and by doing that I always expect more from myself. Now I am a huge sports fan. Baseball would probably be my favorite sport to watch and I would rather watch the college level than the pros but that’s beside the matter. I am going to say that I am a full-fledged Texas A&M fan and I hope to be attending there in a year or two, but when I Aggies weren’t playing, I caught myself keeping up and watching you guys (LSU Tigers). I really got caught up in the College World Series and after A&M lost, I was pulling for LSU to take it all. Once I heard your story and how you completed your goal the way you did, it inspired me to be a better competitor. We all should have a right to do the things we love and if we don’t, we should push even harder to get it. I absolutely love your motto “Heart Has No Limit” and I will keep it in my head while going to compete this year. It is honestly something that I think not only athletes, but everyone, needs to keep that in mind when wanting something. I know you probably get a lot of messages like this but I just wanted to share this with you and tell you how you have inspirited someone like me to always do better. I am really excited to see how your career develops and I can’t wait to watch you play in the big leagues; you are a really incredible athlete. Good luck with your games and practices and thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this!

Emileigh Claudel

Lake Charles, LA

Hey Cole, my name is Emileigh Claudel, I’m from Lake Charles. LA and a sophomore in college. I just wanted to tell you how heart has no limit has impacted me and inspired me! My struggle started when I was a freshman in high school. I tore my meniscus in volleyball and had to have surgery to fix it. I continued to try and play. It was extremely hard. I still had pain in my leg so I gave up. Three years later I had to have another knee surgery. I waited a while and it was still causing me problem. Doctors didn’t know what to do or what it was. They sent me to another doctor. Doctor said it was how I was born. My bones are not aligned correctly. I had to have a major surgery. They had to break my bone, move it over, and screw it back into place. That night was the night my life changed forever. I was in recovery after surgery and nurses started freaking out. I had to get a bunch of tests done. A different doctor walks in and says, “I just want to let you know there’s a huge change you are going to lose your leg” at that point I lost all hope. I had 3 surgeries in 18 hours to save my leg. I was under anesthesia for 18 hours. I woke up glad to see my leg but sad to see the damage done to it.. my leg is completely tore up. It’s like my scars and battles on the inside of me came to life and appeared on my leg. I ended up with nerve damage, my foot is now paralyzed. I also have complex regional pain syndrome. I was on a walker for 4 months. It took me 5 months to be able to walk again with no help. Everyday was miserable. I couldn’t move. I missed my senior trip, graduation, birthday, and first semester of college. My life was completely on hold. Most importantly I couldn’t play the sport I loved most... part of me was gone. I had to have another surgery in January to try and fix my foot. The last year of my life has been the worst. But your creation, heart has no limit has changed me and my outlook on life. You can do ANYTHING if you put your mind to it. I am now walking 100% better, I’m learning how to run again, and accomplishing things doctors and so many people said I wouldn’t be able to do... it feels amazing. You have seriously changed my life and for the better. I now know not to give up and stop trying. There is light at the end of it all and heart has no limit has made me realize that. You are a true hero. Keep doing what you’re doing cause you have saved me. And I know you will touch so many other people. THANK YOU!!

Maddi Hartley

So, my story isn’t specifically about me, but I feel like #HHNL is exactly what women’s rugby has become to me.  A lot of girls think that if they’re not super fit, super skinny or whatever that they can’t be athletic. I used to believe that too until I found rugby during college. When I joined my rugby team I felt like I was too fat, too slow, too weak to be an athlete or even a strong “woman”, whatever that means. When I found my rugby team I discovered that your body type, your gender, etc... doesn’t define what you do or what you can be. I found a team who was full of people with all body types; all fitness levels but we all shared a passion for the game and for each other. I’ve always been a huge baseball and LSU fan (Geaux Tigers!) and when I found out about #HHNL I immediately thought about my rugby team and everything I learned from them. My team became my family and I learned that no matter what you might look like, what you might play like, there is no limit to what you can achieve and that no one can tell you what you can or can’t do but you. So, I want to say thank you to @coledrank and #HHNL for giving a voice to everything I’ve learned through my experiences and for encouraging everyone to follow their dreams and never doubt that they are capable of whatever they set their minds to.


Age 13 • Hancock, MD

Hi Cole, my name is Peyton, I’m from Hancock, Maryland and I’m 13 years old. I might only be thirteen but I have a heart has no limit story, believe it or not. About two years ago I went through a pretty bad injury. I had a condition in my left hip called slipped capital femoral epiphysis. My femur bone dislocated and my growth plate shattered, ending my softball season. All I wanted to do was play softball & I couldn’t even have that. Softball was my escape from the bullying I was putting up with during school & it all ended within a second. I had to have surgery & wasn’t allowed to walk for 5 weeks and then I couldn’t run for another 5 weeks. That’s when my mental health got bad, even though I was only 11. I didn’t think I would ever play softball again, nor as good as I had been. I had lost all hope in myself. I wasn’t willing to fight for what I loved b/c I didn’t think I could. I let my physical injury get into my head & it still does sometimes. I still feel defeated. I still think I’ll never reach my dreams of playing college softball. I’ve always loved softball but I’ve had to work for it. I had to work for my skill. Then, a few months ago, I found out about Heart Has No Limit and everything I’ve had to work for has become easier because I believe in myself. Any time I think I can’t do something, I want it even more & I’m willing to work even harder for it. It has changed my outlook on things completely. I go watch you play baseball a lot & it inspires me. I know I can make my dreams happen because the heart really has no limit. You made me see this. Thank you. You’ve inspired me as an athlete & as a person.

Jessica Gonzalez

Age 21

Hello, my name is Jessica. I’m 21-years-old and I don’t know what not being sick is like. When I was younger it was constant bouts of bronchitis and walking pneumonia. I had to quit track and cross country due to how scarred up my lungs were and being diagnosed with asthma. At age 12 they diagnosed me with a thyroid cyst (which is why I am a smaller person weight wise), at 16 I was diagnosed with PCOS and at 20 I was diagnosed with a pineal cyst smack in the middle of my brain. I’ve always been a klutz and more “fragile” then most people. My parents wouldn’t let me play softball because of that. I’ve missed out on so much in life because I was sick or people wouldn’t allow me to participate due to being “too fragile, you’d break”. Recently I hosted an event for work and that night was in the ER thanks to appendicitis. As soon as I got out the hospital I was home working. Through all this I’ve tried to keep the mentality that you don’t go through anything you are not strong enough to handle. When I heard about Cole’s story and the Heart Has No Limit mantra I’ve adopted that mentality. It’s helped me to get to almost 22 years of life and I plan on it getting me farther. After all the times I’ve had to go on medical leave for work or drop out of school for medical reasons, I refuse to let any of it stop me. This heart of mine has no limit! So, thank you Cole!

Sarah McCarty

Sophomore, Kent State University

Hi Cole! My name is Sarah McCarty, I’m from Pennsylvania and I wanted to share with you my Heart Has No Limit story. I’m a sophomore in college and also a gymnast at Kent State University. It was a hard road to get where I am today. All throughout my childhood and club gymnastics, it didn’t come natural to me. I always had to work my ass off to be as good as my teammates who had natural talent. My own coach told me that I wasn’t good in the lower levels and when I finally got to level 10, I told her my dream was to go to college gymnastics. She laughed at me and told me I could never get there. So, I decided to prove her and everyone else that doubted me wrong. My mom and I researched how to start the recruiting process and I made it to the Junior Olympic Nationals for gymnastics my sophomore year of high school. I was finally being noticed by colleges, but they were Division II and my dream was to compete for Division I. Like you, I sat in my kitchen frustrated and cried wondering why these Division I schools didn’t see any potential in me. But Craig Ballard, the Kent State assistant coach finally noticed me, and reached out to me my junior year. I had never even heard of Kent State before. But I knew they were Division I and decided I’d go for a visit. The coaches were enthusiastic about me being a major contributor to the team. So finally committed and got through my junior and senior years of high school. Needless to say, freshman year here at Kent State didn’t go as planned, at all. I came in without two of the major skills they recruited me for and “out of shape” for their standards. I got hurt three days before our first competition and didn’t compete until our last regular season meet. Then came MAC championships, I was only competing in one event and I had fallen. I felt like I let the whole team down. Once season was over, I made a promise to myself that I was never letting that happen ever again.  I stayed in Kent this past summer and practiced and lifted almost every day. Now, I am one of the major contributors on vault and floor for the team, and the head coach has said more than once that I’ve really stepped up this year into a major role. I remember sitting with some teammates at Buffalo Wild Wings in Kent watching the College World Series and watching LSU. I envy the LSU’s gymnastics team so I figured the baseball team had to be really good as well. We were watching the game and #8 had really stuck out to me, I thought, “wow, he seems really good, I’m sure he’ll get drafted somewhere after this season.” After that, I was rooting for you guys the rest of the way. I had read your story and you’ve inspired me to share my story with you. I’m sorry that was ungodly long, but thank you for sharing your story and for inspiring others like me.