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Help John Fennell train for the 2018 Winter Olympics

John Fennell came out publicly last year. Now he needs your help to fund his training for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

John Fennell is an out gay Canadian Olympian in luge who competed in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. He is aiming for the 2018 Winter Olympics and needs your help to fund his training. You can donate here.

I am going into my ninth year of luge. It's my passion. It's my love. It's my escape.

This is the first season that I will be personally liable for the finances of it. Sliding has given me so much and it's so connected to my identity, I couldn't see myself walking away from it any time soon. I've been told ever since I was young to find something you love and to pursue it. I'm so fortunate that that happened for me at a young age. I found a positive outlet to channel my energy. People can go their whole lives without that. I am willing to put in what it takes to see just how far sliding can take me.

I am a student and an amateur athlete with little time for a job. Believe it or not, during the season we train four to six hours, six days each week with time for physio, rehab, and sled work on top of that. We're typically on the road from October-mid March only coming home for a few weeks here and there. I also attempt to do university while traveling. Needless to say, I don't have much time for a day job. Last season, the funds were present and I was a fully funded athlete, which meant that I had nominal team fees. This season, however, I am at a huge deficit. Based on my results at the Olympics and throughout the previous season, I didn't reach key markers that would secure funding for this year. In essence, I am responsible for generating $9,500 dollars in fees just to slide. Here's where I need some help.

launched this crowdsourcing fundraiser strictly to help me cover the cost of what I love to do. I am running the campaign until the 25th of January. In that time, I will be competing in various European races and training full-time. I am currently traveling to Junior Worlds in Norway where I am expected to have a best-ever result.

I am able to offer a number of rewards to people willing to contribute, including signed photographs, race bibs, and various race memorabilia. More importantly, your contribution would be a symbolic sign of support, which would mean my success is shared with you. How moving would it be to be able to say that you've been supporting an amateur athlete all the way? Because this campaign is based on numbers, any amount can help. Also, if people aren't able to contribute sending the campaign information to others is helpful, too.

It means a lot to see my family and friends come together like this for me. Even more powerful than that is the idea that total strangers can see a value in what I am doing and are willing to invest their hard-earned cash in my dreams. As the old saying goes, I've always depended on the kindness of strangers. That couldn't be truer in my case. I am happy to have faith in my community that we can reach this goal together.

John Fennell is an out gay Canadian Olympian in luge who competed in the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games. He is aiming for the 2018 Winter Olympics and needs your help to fund his training. You can donate here.