My passion for the mission of Adaptive Sports Partners is fed by the amazing people and experiences that I am fortunate to encounter each day. These opportunities continue to power my life and nurture my passion for exploring it with others. I wanted to share a special story with you from one of ASPNC’s participants whose optimism in the face of adversity brings joy to all whom she touches. Let me introduce you to Suzie Coughlan, who shares her “ASPNC Story” with us all…
My participation with ASPNC began on a cold February day at Cannon Mountain. This seemed very significant as it was on that mountain that my Dad, when I was 9 years old, decided it was time for me to gain confidence in my abilities. Coming from a very active family, we began skiing at age 3 on a driveway. On this trip to Cannon he said to me, “I am going to let you ski alone and when we meet I want you to be skiing faster and with more confidence”. It worked! He and I skied together all the time until his death in 1979.
Fast forward to 2016. At that point in my life, after a lifetime of both Alpine and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, camping, kayaking, canoeing, biking, swimming and tennis I was living with Inclusion Body Myositis. IBM is a progressive degenerative muscle wasting disease with no cure.
My partner Ronnie is an avid skier and Cannon is “her” mountain too! She suggested ASPNC while I was still teaching in a Montessori school. (A profession I adored for 28 years). I was horrified. “Why would I want to go down a mountain in a toboggan when I used to be an expert skier?”
A few years later, after I had to take medical retirement, she suggested it once more! This time I thought “why not?” Thus, began an experience that totally transformed my new life as a person with a disability.
Sandy took me on my first ski day and I was blown away! I felt the joy and freedom immediately and I recalled how much I loved skiing! Speed, cold air on my cheeks and FUN! To say nothing about being able to participate in Ronnie’s passion of skiing with her once again. And yes, my Dad was there in spirit! See Dad I am still gaining speed and confidence! Over my years of adaptive skiing the best day was while we were on Upper Ravine at the top of the mountain. I experienced muscle memory of the turns on the trail from my many years of skiing there!
Adaptive sports have been an excellent way to bring my large extended family together. Together with many friends from all parts of my life we ascended Mt Washington in August at the Sunrise Ascent. Powered by Optimism we had an amazing shared experience. Supported by my blue sea of love, I was reminded of the intense power of love and that life is good!
Through skiing, kayaking, bowling, hiking, soaring, and two years participating in the Sunrise Ascent, (where my Team SooSoo raised over $54,000!!) I have found a new family. Awesome Sandy, her incredible staff and her wonderful, selfless, loving volunteers are with me, encouraging me all l the way. Thank you for the gift of yourselves. ASPNC ROCKS!!!
~ Suzie Coughlan
At ASPNC, we thrive on possibilities and, as Suzie reminds us, we accomplish this through the power of love and optimism!
With your support, we will continue to turn possibilities into realities for Suzie, her family, and friends, and the over 200 individuals and families who want to participate in sport, recreation, and wellness activities. Please join me as a partner in possibilities with a year-end gift today.
Continuing to create possibilities together,