1000 miles to go! Only 1000 miles left to the Atlantic Ocean. Well, I guess it is all a matter of perspective “only 1000 miles to go” or “geez, still 1000 miles.” Irregardless, 3200 miles logged thus far and 1000 miles remaining in this cross-country journey. Phew!
To publicly answer the most commonly asked question, “So, do you have cancer?” Nope. I do not have cancer. I am not a cancer warrior or survivor. So, why First Descents? Why young adults with cancer? Why outdoor adventure therapy?
-Because I am a young adult.
-Because I am a health care provider.
-Because I live and breathe and love the outdoors.
-Because I believe that resistance and challenges and new experiences lead to personal growth.
-Because companionship and friendship make the journey bearable, memorable, and enjoyable.
For all these reasons and a million more, I decided to ride across the country for First Descents. One of the greatest things I appreciate about First Descents is that they refer to camp as "outdoor adventure therapy." As a physical therapist, it is no wonder that I support other forms of "therapy." But it isn't that simple. When I think about First Descents, I think about my patients and the life lessons they have bestowed upon me. I think about the struggles we have overcome, the tears we have shed, the immeasureable amounts of laughter, the walks, the talks, the hugs. I am truly blessed everyday.
Over the course of my career, I have worked in settings spanning from the ICU to the professional sports arena. Yet, irregardless of the setting, the focus of therapy is on restoring "quality of life," considering that "quality of life" is a growing spectrum or a moving continuum. If you too believe that we are continually growing, changing, and evolving, then so is our definition of "quality of life." Thus it seems extremely natural for me to support an organization that challenges young adults to push their limits, to challenge themselves, to expand their continuum for "quality of life." I ride for First Descents in support of their mission and philosophy and in appreciation for the positive impact they have on the health care system through personal empowerment and advocacy. Additionally, I ride for my patients who continually bless and strengthen my life. It is in their honor that I wear the breast cancer bandana/scarf and carry an Irish Blessing prayer card--thanks, guys, you know who you are!
An Irish Blessing
May God grant you always...
A sunbeam to warm you,
A moonbeam to charm you,
A sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you.
Laughter to cheer you.
Faithful friends near you.
And whenever you pray,
Heaven to hear you.