By Evelyn Olive
When Austin was a baby, it was often stated that he was bald. He had hair — it was just super white. He had no eyebrows, bright blue eyes, and his face and ears were always as red as possible.
At home, Auggie, as he came to be known, would take his clothes off and lay on the cold tile floor. Growing up, he was an avid sports player, playing baseball, basketball, football, and soccer. But there was something wrong. Living near Palm Springs, California, our temperatures are 80 degrees Fahrenheit and above. Yet Auggie wasn’t sweating!
There Was Something Going On
When his little sister, Dakota, came along, it was evident there was something going on. She, too, had difficulty sweating, overheated easily, sparse eyebrows, and was always red. She, too, played a lot of sports.
Eventually, we found a dermatologist who knew about ectodermal dysplasias. Auggie and Dakota were diagnosed with autosomal dominant hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia.Learn More About Hypohidrotic Ectodermal Dysplasia
Competing in the National Paralympic Championships
During a baseball game, Auggie came down with heatstroke. It was then that he decided he needed to find a sport that wouldn’t put him in danger. Water polo and swimming were now a part of our vocabulary. Both Auggie and Dakota showed promise right from the start. The pool maintained their body temperature.
Auggie’s head swimming coach brought up para swimming and trying for 2020/1 Tokyo. So we set on an adventure to see if he could do it. Four years after that meeting, Auggie would compete in the USA National Paralympic Championships placing 5th. Plus, making times for the World Series in swimming.
Immediately after that competition, COVID-19 shut the world down.
The Desert Challenge Games
Auggie was unable to get in the pool until April of 2021! He had one month to lose weight and be ready for the first competition opening back up: The Desert Challenge Games in Mesa, Arizona.
Dakota, through the years, joined her brother with swimming and qualified for Junior Nationals over and over. She, too, would be competing in the Desert Challenge Games.
Back in the Pool
On Wednesday, May 26, 2021, the Olive kids jumped in the pool for their first race since COVID-19. We had no clue what their times would look like! Auggie needed a time of 34.10 seconds in the 50-meter freestyle to make Nationals again.
Blowing Us All Away
He climbed the block, the buzzer went off, and he dove in. He touched the wall at 34.54 seconds! Just shy of the needed time. For his first time back, in a much smaller pool, and only having a month to train, that is pretty awesome! He continued to blow all of us away, even the fellow athletes. As his shirt says “All you see is De Feet!”
For five events, Austin placed first in all of them! Dakota was the same, placing first in all three of her events!
The Olive kids have autism, birth defects, cerebral palsy and more. Plus the ectodermal dysplasia. But you know — they don’t sweat it!
Evelyn Olive is a guest blogger for the National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias. Evelyn, Auggie and Dakota live in Yucaipa, California.