If you live in Spokane, or are a fan of American Ninja Warrior, then you know Sandy Zimmerman

She makes what she does look incredibly easy (as I quickly found out on Thursday when I tried to complete a few obstacles on her backyard course). 

Zimmerman is not only a fan favorite on the show and a hometown favorite in Spokane, she's also the favorite ninja of a 5-year-old Richland girl named Oaklee. 

"She's a huge fan of the show. She's watched all the episodes, she knows all the ninjas," Zimmerman grinned on Thursday. 

Oaklee is a warrior in her own right. She's been battling stage 2 liver failure after being diagnosed with Alpha-1 Antitrypsin Deficiency, a disease that affects not only the liver, but also her fragile lungs. 

As Oaklee fights to conquer her own illness, The Wishing Star Foundation reached out to her and asked what they could do for her. 

"Here's this little girl who could have anything she wanted as her wish and she wanted American Ninja Warrior obstacles in her backyard," a humbled Zimmerman said. 

After hearing about Oaklee's story, Zimmerman immediately jumped on board and is now helping raise funds to get Oaklee her very own American Ninja Warrior obstacle course in her backyard. 

To help make that happen, Zimmerman is opening up her course this Saturday to those who want to donate to make Oaklee's wish come true. 

"We can only have 10 people back here," Zimmerman said while discussing COVID-19 restrictions in place during the event. "But it's better than nothing. We're gonna do this and make this work for Oaklee."

With a goal of $5,470 to get Oaklee her ANW course, and only about $1400 raised as of Thursday morning, Zimmerman is scheduling time slots this Saturday for kids, teens and even some adults to run through some obstacles on the same ninja course she uses to train for the show. 

And all levels on ninja experience are welcome, as the course will be side-by-side racing like on American Ninja Warrior Junior

"It's super chill and super laid back, low-level ninja and really just a family event," Zimmerman reassured me. 

The first mom in 11 seasons to complete the arduous course, American Ninja Warrior has changed Zimmerman's life and now she wants to use her role model status to help change the life of Oaklee. 

"I feel like we all have a small responsibility to give back," Zimmerman said. "If that means things like this and this event and I can make this difference in Oaklee's life and her family's life then I feel like we have the responsibility to do that for each other." 

There are still a few slots available for Saturday's event. The suggested donation is at least $30 and 100% of the proceeds go to building Oaklee's backyard ninja warrior course!

To guarantee your chance to run the course, you must register and you can do so by emailing Sandy at sandyzimmerman76@gmail.com

There were still some slots available as of Thursday afternoon including: 

  • 1-2 pm slot 5-7 year old division (3 spots left)
  • 2-3 pm slot 8-10 year old division (3 spots left)
  • 3-4 pm slot 3-4 year old division (7 spots left)
  • 4-5 pm slot 11-13 year old division (3 spots left)
  • 5-6 pm slot Teen/Adult division (1 spots left)

If you can't make it but would still like to donate to Oaklee's wish, you can do so by clicking here.