Melvindale family paying thousands to see daughter compete in Sochi

Jessica Smith's parents say the price tag to travel, stay in Russia during Winter Olympics worth it

Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith (NBColympics.com)

MELVINDALE, Mich. – The Smith family knows it's a priceless opportunity to see their daughter compete in the Winter Olympics in Sochi Russia, but it will cost them a pretty penny to do so.

"It's totally worth it, nothing else, nothing else is worth seeing her live her dream," said Reina Smith.

Jessica Smith of Melvindale qualified for three short track speed skating events; the 500m, 1000m and 1500m.  Smith, 30, began her career inline speed skating but switched to speed skating on ice because it is an Olympic event.

This is Smith's first Olympic games.

Smith's father, Rick estimates they could spend upwards of $40,000 for himself, his wife Reina and their son Travis to make the trip to Sochi next month.

"I would say it's going to be around $40,000 between hotel, airfare, food, whatever else, transportation," said Rick Smith.  "And who knows, there's always little stuff, tips, tickets."

The Smiths, who still live in Melvindale, help their daughter out financially whenever they can.  They never see it as a sacrifice.

"This is our life too, we want it for them. We want it just as much as she wants it," said Reina Smith.  "We enjoy, we love that she's getting to do what she dreamed of doing and all her hard work is paying off."

"Well she (Jessica) always said we could buy a bigger house, but we're not going to put the money to live in a house, we're going put it into our kids. So that's what we did, and it paid off," said Rick Smith.

Family, friends and neighbors are working hard planning several fundraisers to help the Smiths raise money to pay for their trip.  Organizers are using Facebook to get the word out about their upcoming events.

On Friday, Jan. 24, Play Atlantis Family Fun Center will donate 20 percent of its proceeds from Friday's sales to the Smith Family.

Play Atlantis has mini golf, laser tag, bouncers, an arcade and other fun activities for families.  The address for Play Atlantis is 19400 Allen Road.  For more information on the activities the facility offers call 734-250-7206.

Saturday January 25 there is a Mostacholi Dinner at the Melvindale Ice Arena located at 4300 S Dearborn Street in Melvindale.   It runs from 4 p.m. until 10 p.m. There will be food, raffles and other prizes.

There is also Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser on Sunday January 26 from 12:30 p.m. until 6 p.m. according to a Facebook page.  The Legion hall is located at Raupp Street in Melvindale.   Tickets are $10 each.  There is also a raffle.

Smith has also started a fundraising page at YouCaring.com.

Smith is one of three Metro Detroiters who will compete in speed skating in the Winter Olympics. Kelly Gunther of Clinton Township, will compete in the 1000 meter for long track, Jilleanne Rookard of Woodhaven, will compete in the 3000 meter in long track speed skating.