Dreaming Big with Xavier Ompok
Xavier Ompok, his wife April and their two children have not had an easy go of it, but they appear to have come out the other side stronger and more rooted in faith and family than ever before. We were so inspired by the Ompok family’s incredible story of hope and resilience, strength and positive attitude, we just had to share. Thank you to Xavier, April, Nina, and Nico for sharing their story and being an inspiration.
My name is Xavier Ompok. I am 40 years old, and I live in Nevada. I am married, and I have two awesome kids. I have been mountain biking for 11 years, and it is one of my passions. I have gone through a lot both physically and emotionally, and this life has truly been a rollercoaster to say the least. However, I would not change a thing about my life because I believe everything you go through truly shapes you into the person that God created you to be.
I love mountain biking, but I also love my family. God blessed me with a beautiful wife, one wonderful daughter, and my one miracle son. My son has special needs, which was caused by a traumatic brain injury when he was six months old and is now healthy and alive, by God’s grace, at 13-years-old.
My family and I were living in New Jersey at the time, and because of my son’s brain injury, he and my daughter were taken away from me and my wife, April, and had to live with my parents across town in mid 2007. April and I were in and out of court rooms fighting to get our kids back and prove that we were innocent of what happened to my son. We knew our kids were in safe hands with my parents, but it was still very difficult for us because we couldn’t raise our family the way we wanted. After over three years of prayer, fighting, doctor’s appointments, court hearings, tears, and believing, my amazing wife and I got our kids back, and our family was complete. About two years later, my family and I packed our stuff and moved to Nevada.
I started mountain biking in 2009, when I was 29 years old, because of what happened to my son, Nico. I got so depressed, and there was not much in my life that could motivate me to get up in the mornings knowing my kids weren’t able to spend all their time with me and my wife. April was the one who encouraged me to get up and not let my depression get the best of me and brought up the idea of trying mountain biking with my friends… and here I am, 11 years later still riding and shredding at least four times a week with some amazing people, and enjoying life even more.
Just last September in 2019, I was diagnosed with severe spinal stenosis in my neck. Because of that, I had to get surgery right away and infuse my C4, 5, and 6. After my diagnosis and my surgery, a lot of people doubted me and said that I would not be able to get back into riding mountain bikes again. But after 3 months of recovery, I have been getting back in shape, back on the saddle and have been riding my bike in some of the most amazing places. I learned from my experience, throughout what my son has gone through, to never give up. Even Nico, who doubted that he would be able to play any sport, has won 6 gold medals in his first special olympics competition and he can also ride a bike, naturally. All the things the doctors, nurses, and therapists said my son would not be able to do, he is now able to do. He is the biggest miracle in my life and brings joy to everyone he knows and is with us today.
I am so blessed and thankful for this opportunity to be able to share my story and my passion and love for mountain biking. As a father, husband, and an athlete, I believe that it is important to have fun, enjoy, and live life to the fullest. Stay true to yourself, and remember that you can do anything, no matter what people say or think. Dream big, and do not give up. You may not be able to control what happens to you or the circumstances you will face in life, but you can control how you react to it and how you will allow it to shape you as a person.