Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Cancer Survivors from South Hit the Slopes (again!)
Cancer survivors from M.D. Anderson Cancer Center (MDA) in Texas joined the National Ability Center for a week of skiing, snowboarding and winter recreation last week. MDA has been bringing cancer survivors to the National Ability Center since 1989. Last week 12 people came to learn how to ski/board or perfect their skills on the mountain.
The individuals who came through M.D. Anderson went through treatments at the hospital. Some of the treatments have involved the individuals losing a limb in their fight with cancer. I talked to some of the group members, and they have not let the fact of a lost limb or cancer slow them down. They are instead stepping forward and taking advantage of the adaptive ways to stay on the mountain.
Most individuals went three-tracking, which means they ski with one ski and hold outriggers on their arms for balance and steering. A few individuals skied on the bi-ski, which involves sitting in a bucket seat while using the outriggers for balance. I also saw one person on our new KartSki. This is a rig that uses handles that are attached to the ski to steer while in a sitting position.
Hayden is nine years old and lost his leg a year-and-a-half ago. Hayden and his instructor, Amanda, where sitting on the bench outside the National Ability Center and Hayden did not want to be done for the day. Amanda explained to him that once you start skiing, it is good to end the day on a good run and give your body rest in order for you to be ready to tackle the next day of skiing. Hayden really wanted to stay out and ski the night away. It was neat to see his desire to keep learning and practicing to get better. I later heard that Hayden is continuing to get better, and he never seems tired.
The group will be skied for a full week before returning home to the South. Look for pictures on our Facebook page next week to see the group and the things they enjoyed here in Park City.