Meet Professional Wakeboarder Who Conquered Cancer
University of Central Florida alumna Alexa Score has accomplished incredible things in her 23 years.
A native of Spicer, Minn., Score earned her degree in finance from UCF in December. A professional wakeboarder whose skills were featured on the MTV series “WakeBrothers,” Score is used acing tricks on Central Florida’s lakes.
But for Score, her biggest victory is happening off the water. She’s battled chronic myeloid leukemia since age 16, and she’s not letting cancer crush her dreams.
How did you choose to attend UCF?
I graduated from high school in Minnesota a semester early, and I moved to Orlando to wakeboard for six months before attending the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. After living in Florida, it was devastating to go back to Minnesota and be stuck in a dorm surrounded by snow and below-freezing temps when all I wanted to do was wakeboard. After a year at Minnesota, I decided to move back to Orlando and chose UCF because I found it to be the best fit for me out of all the schools in Central Florida.
What was your time at UCF like?
I had a great collegiate experience at UCF. The campus and facilities are beautiful, and being commuter-friendly allowed me to live on a lake 20 miles away, so I was able to focus on school and wakeboarding simultaneously.
I was fond of many of my professors and still keep in touch with a couple of them today. Overall, my time at UCF was well spent. The college continues to gain respect and make a name for itself globally, thanks to constant physical and educational improvement, and, of course, our football program. I’m proud to be a Knight.
How did you get involved with wakeboarding?
Growing up on a lake in small town, Minnesota, you learn to take advantage of every moment it’s warm enough to be outside and on the water. I started waterskiing at age 8 and since then have been active in all kinds of watersports – show skiing, barefooting, jumping, fishing, and of, course, wakeboarding. I spent a lot of time on the boat with my older sister and her friends when I was a teenager, and that’s when I started focusing more on solely wakeboarding.
What do you enjoy most about wakeboarding?
I love being on the water period. I’ve always been into board sports, so naturally I’m drawn to wakeboarding. I love spending time on the lake with friends and family, so that plays a big role, as well.
Tell us about your experience with cancer.
As anyone could expect, being diagnosed with cancer at age 16 was a wild experience. Having my health taken away from me and dealing with a life-threatening illness, treatment, and endless side effects isn’t something any teenager expects.
It was also an age at which many of my friends were unsure how to act or what to say regarding my diagnosis. But overall, I received incredible support from my family and community. My journey brought a lot of us together and strengthened many of my relationships. It wasn’t a pleasant time, but being diagnosed at such a pivotal stage in my personal development ultimately helped shape me into the person I am today.
What are you doing now?
After graduating last December, I started doing some work in commercial real estate. I’m still wakeboarding and competing in some pro events around the country but am slowly starting to focus on my business career.
I also do a lot of volunteering with local and global organizations including Be The Match, LIVESTRONG, BASE Camp and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society.
What’s something not many people know about you?
Though I seem healthy and am in stable condition, I still have leukemia and take a dose of oral chemotherapy every day to treat it. Also, Van Halen Greatest Hits Volume 1 was the first CD I ever bought. Most people don’t know that.
What do you like to do when you’re not wakeboarding?
There are truly not enough hours in the day for all of my hobbies, but when I’m not wakeboarding or working, I try to squeeze in as many as possible. I love to fish, surf, hunt, learn, do yard work, volunteer, scrapbook, play the guitar, compete in triathlons, watch football, bake and read. I definitely stay busy.