This story was originally included in the Adaptive Sports Center’s 2017 Spring Update. The Chris Mikesell Foundation has given $17,500 to the Adaptive Sports Center to help enhance the quality of life of people with disabilities through outdoor adventure activities.
When 16 year old Cassidy Moore stepped off of a chartered airplane in Gunnison along with five other participants and five staff members from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, she knew she was in for a life- changing experience.
Moore and the rest of the group from the Dallas-based hospital have cerebral palsy and were on their first trip to Crested Butte. “I am in this bubble and I need to learn how to get out of it and learn to do things I’ve never done before,” she said. “I’m really excited to challenge myself.”
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is a world-renowned hospital known for treating children with orthopedic conditions, neurological disorders and learning disorders. The hospital provides services regardless of a family’s ability to pay and has treated more than 270,000 children since its inception.
Their trip to visit the Adaptive Sports Center was funded entirely through donations, and was the culmination of years of relationship building between the two organizations.
The group spent the week rock climbing, hiking, and boating. They also had an opportunity to push their limits on the Ropes Challenge Course on Mount Crested Butte and spent their evenings at the Adaptive Sports Center’s Gothic House in Crested Butte.
ASC Program Director Chris Read says bringing groups like Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children out for a week of programming is a great way to ensure participants get the most out of their experience.
“Having groups focus on skill development and teamwork during their visit is the best way to ensure a powerful transfer of experience when they return home,” Read says.
The team of doctors and nurses from the hospital named their trip Breaking Boundaries. Dr. Lori Karol, the hospital’s Assistant Chief of Staff, says the experience made a profound difference for all of them.
“I don’t think one of these kids this week thought they had cerebral palsy because they broke their boundaries and pushed themselves beyond what they would normally be doing physically. They found ways to experience the outdoors just like anyone else would,” Dr. Karol said.
As Cassidy Moore worked her way across the Ropes Challenge Course, her fellow participants and the doctors and nurses who accompanied the group from Texas were there to support her. The entire week was a bonding experience for the group as they navigated challenges together and encouraged each other to push their limits.
Mark Bateman, Senior Vice President of Public Relations for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, joined the trip to Crested Butte and says the Adaptive Sports Center team felt like an extension of the hospital family.
“We believe every child deserves to experience a full and happy childhood without boundaries, regardless of their physical condition,” Bateman says. “Adaptive provided the right mix of adversity, discovery, achievement and pure joy to give our kids a special experience they’ll never forget.”
“Every single thing I’ve done this week has proven to me that I can do something when I thought I couldn’t,” said Cassidy Moore. “And I felt so many emotions, happiness and being scared and every emotion that you can think of, that’s what it was.”
At the end of the week, as the group wrapped up and prepared to head back to Texas, 14 year old Emmanuel De La Cruz reflected on his week.
“I wanted to meet new people like these people around me right now,” he said. “We became best friends, all of us. I also wanted to do more activities that I hadn’t done before. This is the best thing I’ve ever done and hopefully I can do it again next year.”
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is scheduled to visit the Adaptive Sports Center again in Summer 2017.