Disabled Iraq Vets Climb For Life

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Disabled Iraq Vets Climb For Life

(Boulder/Denver, CO)

June 12, 2007, Disabled Veterans From Iraq and Afghanistan To Participate In June 15th-17th, Climb4Life Ovarian Cancer Fund Raising Event, to be held in Boulder/Denver

Disabled veterans from both Afghanistan and Iraq will be participating in the Front Range’s first HERA Foundation Climb4Life event this summer. The vets connected with HERA, a nonprofit that raises awareness and funds for ovarian cancer, through Paradox Sports, an organization that seeks to “minimize the barrier between the disabled and able bodied that inspires all individuals to transcend perceived physical or mental limitations.”

According to Reid Olmstead, Director of Outreach and Communications for Paradox, the goal of bringing disabled vets to this event is to foster a mutual sense of inspiration between vets, cancer survivors, and other participants and also to breed more involvement and awareness for both these causes.

“So few disabled, vets or not vets, are provided opportunities like this,” explains Olmstead. “We are hoping to develop our participants as climbers, but also further their respective recoveries from their injuries and have them begin to participate in communities such as climbing, which will again support their recoveries and hopefully allow them to network and begin to or continue to lead full lives.”

As with cancer survivors, disabled vets often don’t realize that they can still lead full and active lives. Malcolm Daly, the owner of Great Trango Holdings and an amputee, will be teaching the group of vets how to climb this weekend.

“What we're trying to do with the disabled vets is pretty simple,” says Daly, who is also active with Paradox Sports. “We want to first provide them with the vision to see that they can do whatever it is that they want to do, regardless of their disability; Second, we want to provide them with, or connect them to, the resources they need for the adaptive technologies to accomplish their vision.”

Pete Davis, Paradox’s Program Director, reiterates that losing a limb doesn’t mean the sporting life has to end. Chad Jukes, one of this weekend’s participants, had his foot amputated after his vehicle hit a roadside bomb in Iraq. He asked the folks at Paradox if they thought he would still be able to pursue his passion for rock climbing.

“We promptly reassured him that it was going to be very possible for him to climb with a modified prosthetic,” explains Davis, adding that he hopes Jukes “can come away from the event with a deeper interest in climbing mainly due to the camaraderie of the climbing community, especially members of the climbing community that have suffered from similar injuries or are courageous and miraculous survivors of cancer.”

Most of the vets involved in this summer’s event expressed an interest in climbing. A few already have experience, and some have none. Regardless, says Olmstead, all are looking for the opportunity to “push themselves, both mentally and physically, on a platform that is supportive. It is really difficult to put into words the emotions and experiences that surround events like this.”

The HERA event will take place this Friday, June 15th through the morning of June 17th. To talk with the veterans involved, please contact Lizzy Scully, lizzy@girlsed.org or 703-887-9755. To read more about Paradox Sports, please visit the website: www.paradoxsports.org.

The HERA Foundation is a registered 501 (c) 3, whose mission is to stop the loss of mothers, daughters, wives, sisters and girlfriends from ovarian cancer by empowering women to take control of their health, empowering the medical community to find new directions in ovarian cancer research and empowering

communities to provide support. For more information, please visit www.herafoundation.org. To schedule an interview with HERA Foundation founder Sean Patrick please call 970.948.7360.