First Descents offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors and their caretakers a free outdoor adventure experience designed to empower them to climb, paddle and surf beyond the diagnosis, defy cancer, reclaim their lives and connect with others with similar experiences. The participants are empowered through conquering legitimate outdoor challenges to push their limits and face their fears, and by doing so, they are able to regain the confidence and self-efficacy lost to cancer.
A few weeks ago my 16 year old daughter Katelyn, a whitewater kayaker, had the good fortune to spend a week with a First Descents group at Zoar Outdoor in Deerfield, MA as one of the kayak instructors.
Each day she came back to our campground tired, but exhilarated and inspired with barely the words to describe her experiences of the day. By day five, she was exhausted and overcome with the emotional connections she had made, the friendships that had been made on the river, the positive energy she had witnessed and the overall amazing experience that she had.
The folks at First Descents are awesome -- Katelyn will never forget Patch and Coach and the rest of the team -- and what they provide for the participants can be life-changing. It can help them get their life back, heal, feel powerful and positive and in charge again. The experience for the volunteers is equally as powerful as they witness and even help facilitate this transformation.
My life has been so blessed with an amazing family, true friends, great health and awesome opportunities. I am running for Team First Descents because I think you need to give back more than you take. We are grateful for the opportunity that Katelyn was offered and I hope that my fund-raising will ensure that others are able to have the same experience.
While this is not my first marathon, I am not a great runner, so running it will force me to push my limits physcially and mentally. But, I will be inspired by those who have faced much greater challenges and manage to overcome them with a smile on their face. Look for me at the back of the pack -- I may finish close to last, but I'll still be ahead of everyone that stayed home and watched from the couch!
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CR Impact Points
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