by Sarah Shaffer

Vanessa and her son.

Being a woman, a mother, an outdoorsy individual is a big part of my being. Exercise, being in nature, sharing in adventures with my family is so very important to me. I recently met a woman named Vanessa who lives in Leavenworth. In April of 2021 Vanessa was rock climbing and had a terrible accident that paralyzed her from the chest down. She too is a mother who loves the outdoors and has a child the same age as mine. She rock climbed, mountain biked, and Nordic skied prior to her injury all of which I do as well.

After meeting Vanessa I tried to imagine what it would be like to lose my ability to have big adventures in nature with my family. I feel most alive when I see expansive views, wildflowers, feel the wind in my hair, play in the dirt and make memories with those I hold so dear. If that opportunity was taken away from me, I can imagine my joy of life would feel dimmed, being confined to my house or to the city. I bet I would start to feel smothered, panicked like I can’t breathe when I am in town for too long. As just being in town for longer than a week or two while injured does this to me.

The mountain bike funds are being raised for.

When I met Vanessa I assumed she had an adaptive mountain bike and was tearing it up in the mountains. I was wrong. Vanessa said that getting a mountain bike that meets her needs costs close to $25,000. It was shocking to hear how much it would cost to get the opportunity to get outdoors and how much it costs on a monthly basis ($600-$800) for therapies, equipment and more for her injury on top of living expenses. Vanessa doesn’t have the extra money to get an adaptive mountain bike on top of caring for her family, working and paying for her therapies.

Vanessa and her family.

Having an adaptive mountain bike would finally give Vanessa the opportunity to get into the mountains again after a few years of not being able to. To feel alone in the wilderness with her family, to see her son overcoming obstacles on his bike, to make memories again with them in nature where her abilities on a bike give her the freedom to go where she wants and to experience life again the way she would like to. Can you help her get there by chipping in to get the adaptive mountain bike? Here is the link to the GoFundMe page for Vanessa to get her mountain bike along with other adaptive equipment for Nordic skiing she is hoping to get as well.

I hope to see Vanessa on the trails in the mountains soon. Let’s help her get there.

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