Sarah Poulin, of Ellington, was on the national stage on Monday evening, appearing as a competitor on the NBC show American Ninja Warrior. Poulin said she took on the challenge to honor her son, Jacob, who died after a battle with a rare form of brain cancer.
Jacob was five years old when he passed away in October of 2016.
“I decided shortly after he passed, to honor him, I was going to compete," said Poulin.
Poulin said that Jacob was a huge fan of American Ninja Warrior. For months, she trained consistently and finally heard back from staffers at the show.
"When I actually got the phone call that I was going to compete, I just broke down and cried," she said.
It all came down to one moment. Poulin was recently in Cleveland, Ohio for the taping of the show. She was in the starting blocks, ready to complete. She said she reached for her necklace. On it was a photo of Jacob.
“And I just gave it a little kiss and I just thought of Jacob and said ‘I hope I make you proud’," Poulin said. "And then I went out and competed.”
Jacob's father, Steve, was watching as his wife navigated the difficult course.
“Regardless, Jacob was going to be proud of her because they were best buddies and he loved his mama," said Mr. Poulin.
On Monday night at Buffalo Wild Wings in Manchester, there was an American Ninja Warrior watch party as well as a fundraiser to help pay for the building of a park and playground in Ellington in Jacob's honor. The restaurant donated 20 percent of all of the night's food and drink sales to the cause.
The competition did not go as well as Poulin hoped it would. She made it past just a few of the obstacles on the course. She said she is determined to take on the challenge again in the future.
“No, I didn't hit a buzzer. Yes, I will hit one next year.”
To learn more about plans for the park in Ellington and about the Jacob Roger Poulin Foundation, visit www.JRPF.org.