Nine-Year-Old with Heart Condition Receives Courage Award from Olympian Julia Clukey

Carter Gentle has endured 14 heart surgeries and is honored at assembly

FARMINGTON, Maine – Nine-year-old Carter Gentle has undergone 14 heart surgeries and on Friday, he received the Julia Clukey Courage Award for his bravery and determination. The honor came as part of an assembly at the Cascade Brook School featuring Olympian Julia Clukey. Before presenting the courage award, she shared her “Live Inspired” presentation that includes the story how she got involved in the sport of luge, as well as her own personal triumphs to overcome adversity. The 60-minute assembly to more than 300 students designed to encourage the students to find their passion, create a plan and go after their dreams.

Carter Gentle receives Julia Clukey Courage Award

Olympian Julia Clukey, Carter Gentle, age 9, and his mom Sarah Richards

Carter Gentle, was selected by school administrators as the recipient of the award. Gentle’s story received national attention in April of 2015 after his father, Mark Gentle shared his son’s emotional response to seeing his scars from heart surgery on social media. Carter’s father, a professional musician, has also recorded a song that has helped promote congenital heart defect awareness.

The presentation at Cascade Brook School marked the 63rd school where for Clukey has shared her inspirational story in the past six years and marked the location where she reached her 20,000th student. After her presentation Clukey celebrated with Haley Sico who was the 20,000th student and she received a free ticket to try the sport of luge, a USA Luge t-shirt, Julia Clukey notebook and cake.

The school presentations by Olympian Julia Clukey are provided at no cost to the school. Since partnering with the Maine Beer & Wine Distributors Association in 2010, Clukey has shared her story at 64 Maine schools reaching more than 20,000 students.

Clukey, 31, recently announced her retirement from the sport of luge based on recent concerns about her future health related to the onset of pain she has experienced from Arnold-Chiari malformation, a congenital brain condition that she had brain surgery for and has endured throughout her career. To learn more about Olympian Julia Clukey, visit

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