Dream Weaver is a believer. The 16 year old Cedar High volleyball, basketball, and softball player has an innate ability to overcome adversity on and off the field.
Dream’s mother, Jennifer Weaver, states, “Dream is probably one of the most unique athletes I’ve seen because her belief and her honesty in life makes her think she can get the job done.” Jennifer continues, “She just believes so hard that she can do it, and she tries really hard.”
And that belief and effort pays off. Dream remembers a basketball game against Carbon this year. “Courtney Morley was shooting foul shots to tie the game,” Dream says. “She was shooting her second one, and I realized that there was only 9 seconds left. I knew we needed to get a rebound.” Dream continues, “It went off my side, so I went around my girl and I got it.” Dream passed the ball to a teammate, who passed it back to her. “I realized I didn’t have the shot, so I dribbled around to try to get the shot.” Still unable to get a clear shot, Dream saw a teammate under the basket, “so I passed it to her and everything went wild. It was really fun.”
Jennifer reflects, “Most people would give up when there’s only like five seconds in the game, but Dream doesn’t give up. She had no doubt in her mind that she could go help win that game. She just believes.”
Dream’s believing attitude carries her through some unique challenges. During her freshman year, Dream developed bruise-like appearances on her arms and legs. At first it was assumed these were bruises from playing basketball, but when the purplish patterns didn’t resolve themselves and Dream began to express feelings of fatigue, her parents began to worry. Finally, at a softball game against Canyon View, Dream passed out while running to first base.
Dream spent the next few months undergoing tests and spent the first week of her sophomore year at Primary Children’s Hospital. Dream was diagnosed with Livedo Reticularis, a disorder in which the blood flow to the small blood vessels that reach the skin is altered resulting in blue, lace-like patterns on her arms and legs, and Antiphospholipid Syndrome, a blood clotting disorder.
“We just take it day by day and manage the symptoms,” says Jennifer. Livedo Reticularis often just affects the skin, but it can also cause more serious problems if blood is restricted from getting to the internal organs. So far Dream appears to be clear of such complications. As far as developing these in the future, “She’s pretty optimistic about it,” says Jennifer.
Jennifer adds, “I think the hardest thing for a 16-year old girl to deal with is on a daily basis her legs can turn purple and blue and the appearance of that is just not super attractive.” Jennifer says it would be easy to become self-conscious, but Dream takes it in stride. “Dream has taken it more as, ‘That’s just who I am. I am an individual, and that’s fine,” says Jennifer. “So she’s owning it rather than trying to hide it.”
As far as affecting her athletics, Dream says she takes precautions such as wearing layers so she doesn’t get cold (which aggravates the Livedo Reticularis), drinking lots of water, and taking a baby aspirin every day to ward off blood clots.
And she doesn’t let it bother her when she plays in a game. “When I play, I don’t think about anything. It’s usually my mom who does the worrying,” she says.
While her disorders do have the ability to slow her down physically, she refuses to let them. “It’s amazing what she does with it because she gets tired easy, so she has to work harder,” says Jennifer. Dream’s body takes longer to recover than most athletes, but, Jennifer says, “Dream just powers through it and . . . does her best to try and not let it affect her. She just goes for it.”
Dream also uses her inner strength to overcome other challenges. While not officially diagnosed, Dream has some characteristics associated with autism. Kids on the autism spectrum often hyper focus on one particular thing. For some kids it is video games or dinosaurs or outer space. For Dream, it is winning. “I’ll do anything not to lose,” says Dream.
For Dream, this focus translates into a deep nervousness. “For three or four days before a big game, she’ll be up in our bedroom at night,” says Jennifer. “We have to walk her through all the things that she’s great at.”
Like most things in her life, Dream turns this challenge into strength. Before a big game, Dream can often be seen in the backyard hitting off a tee or at the gym two hours early to practice shooting. Jennifer says, “She takes what could be a weakness and turns it and uses it. She is highly self-motivated about succeeding and doing her best and not letting people down.”
Dream also works harder than most at school. “Learning is not as easy for her as it is other kids,” says Jennifer. Just like in sports, the added difficulty has not kept Dream from believing that she can succeed, and succeed she does. Dream currently has a 4.0 GPA.
“Sports teaches you a lot about life, like don’t give up. It’s pretty much like a life lesson,” says Dream, but it is easy to see that Dream has innate qualities that would exist even if sports were not a big part of her life. Jennifer observes, “She just doesn’t quit. She just keeps going. And I think that’s why she is a good athlete. She doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Dream also has many talents outside of sports. She is a sculptor along with a photographer who like to take photos of wild animals. She certainly has a gift for seeing the beauty in all the things around her.
Jennifer sums up her daughter with these words, “She’s not just an athlete. She’s more than just an athlete.” It is easy to see that Dream is more than just an athlete. Dream is a believer. • HSSI