Cabraile Cooksey, a ninth grade student at the Life School of Red Oak, set the school record in the triple jump this past year with a jump of 36-feet, 10.5-inches.
Due to her accomplishments in track and field, she has been invited to compete in the Down Under International Games in Australia. The games have been set for July 7, 2014.
Cabraile needs a total of $4,583 in order to make the trip, and hopes she can bring in the necessary funds by holding a fundraiser.
From now until June 5, she will be selling candy, T-shirts and also taking monetary donations to put toward the cost of the trip.
She said this trip will be a dream come true for her and her family, because they have always wanted to go to Australia.
“I’m definitely going to compete, and hopefully bring back a medal,” Cooksey said. “But I also want to see a kangaroo. I grew up watching Kangaroo Jack, and was fascinated with kangaroos and koala bears. And it’s cool because my entire family will be going with me.”
Linda, Cabraile’s mother said she has never been out of the country, and she now has that chance because of her daughter.
“This is going to be a great experience for our whole family,” Linda said. “Besides, I can’t let my baby go that far by herself.”
Linda added that when she found out that her daughter had been invited to compete in Australia, she didn’t believe it at first.
“When she read the letter to me in the car, my first thought was that it sounded too good to be true,” Linda said. “I told her that we needed to do some research before we made any kind of commitment.”
After they searched for the event online and established that it was the real deal, Linda said she told her daughter they would do whatever it took to make the trip happen.
“I’ve always wanted her to experience things I’ve never had the opportunity to experience,” she said. “This will be a chance of a lifetime for her, and we are determined to see her perform in Australia.”
The family is so intent on everyone going that they have put their house up for sale. In addition, they are trying to raise enough money to take her coach, Lyle Linscomb, along with them. He is responsible for her receiving the invitation.
The family said it would only be fitting if he was able to be there to coach the track star from start to finish.
Cabraile will be competing in the triple jump, long jump, hurdles and relays. She said while her specialty is the triple jump, she feels she will have a good showing in all four sports.
Linda said it doesn’t matter to her daughter if she wins or loses, she just wants her to have fun.
“Cabraile is very competitive, and is really hard on herself if she doesn’t win,” Linda said. “Win or lose, I just want her to enjoy herself.”
Cabraile said she is looking forward to being an ambassador for the community, state and this country.
To purchase items from Cabraile, visit downundersports.com. For more information about how you can give, email firstname.lastname@example.org.