Norris High School graduate and wheelchair fencer Hailey Bauer has her eyes set on Paris: the site of the 2024 Summer Paralympics.
Bauer and her family will be hosting a spaghetti dinner and a silent auction fundraiser to raise money for the journey Saturday from 4-7 p.m. at the Hickman Community Center.
Bauer’s mother, Carrie Hogrefe, said proceeds will go toward funding Bauer’s travel expenses for international fencing tournaments in Brazil, Poland, the Netherlands and South Korea. Paralympic qualification in wheelchair fencing requires athletes to compete in at least three international tournaments. Hogrefe said Bauer will be able to acquire points at those tournaments that go toward her overall ranking, which is taken into account by various committees.
"She's already been to several national competitions and has done very well there," Hogrefe said. "But now she needs to do some traveling to get points to qualify."
Additional proceeds from Saturday's event will be donated to flood relief efforts across Nebraska.
Valentino’s will be providing food for the dinner, which is free with the option of donations. The silent auction will feature a number of donated items, gift certificates and Nebraska Lottery tickets. Bauer’s uncle donated a Scott Frost-autographed Nebraska football helmet.
“That was a surprise,” Hogrefe said. “That means everything to him (Bauer's uncle). This is really important to him.”
Following the dinner, Bauer, now a student at Metropolitan State University in Denver, will give a speech about her life and future as a wheelchair fencer.
Born with cerebral palsy, Bauer has been fencing since 2014 and hopes to continue climbing in the rankings.
“She wants to show that nothing can hold her back no matter what life throws at her,” Hogrefe said. “This is her dream. She loves fencing, and the USA team is like a big family.”