Monday, February 25, 2013
GWINNETT COUNTY, GA-- As the wheelchairs move toward one another you see instant smiles and flashes of recognition on the faces of Aimee Copeland and Kyle Maynard. The two have a lot in common and have heard stories of one another, but this is their first time meeting. The smiles are followed by a hug. Two amputees with very different stories of how they arrived to this day. Last year, Aimee Copeland contracted a rare flesh eating bacteria while zip-lining with friends. To save her life, doctors had to amputate both feet, a leg and her hands. Kyle Maynard is a congenital amputee who was born with only portions of his arms and legs. A former wrestler and mixed martial artist, he's also a motivational speaker who just finished climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. He spent ten days bear crawling to the summit. Copeland has long wanted to meet Maynard, so when he was invited to be the keynote speaker at the Gwinnett Medical Center Foundation's Gala organizers invited Copeland to the event. Before the gala began, Copeland and Maynard met in a side room for an interview with 11 Alive News. Reporter Duffie Dixon said her job was easy--with one question the two began an instant conversation about what they most admire about each other and what they'd like to see for others like them in the future. "I see us working together to come up with ways to make things more accessible, Its just a matter of figuring out things no one has thought of before," said Maynard. Copeland said seeing what Maynard has accomplished by hiking Kilimanjaro, she hopes to someday return to the hiking and kayaking she loved before she lost her limbs. "I think nature has a lot to offer in healing people. I want everyone to be able to get out on trails and rivers and experience what I have," said Copeland. Maynard said he was inspired by Copeland's positive outlook saying she has not let her accident define her. She was quick to say the same about him.
Monday, February 18, 2013
PARK CITY — Park City Mountain Resort joined Shriners Hospital for Children to give young amputees a chance to ski Utah's famous slopes. The Un-Limb-ited Ski and Snowboard Camp is an annual event that allows dozens of teens from around the world to work on and showcase their skiing abilities. "I love to ski," said Kristine Littlefield, a 13-year-old participant from Centerville. "It's one of my favorite things to do in the winter. I do diamond runs all the time." Like Littlefield, participants receive professional instruction to learn adapted skiing and snowboarding, and it's at no cost. Those who want to attend simply submit an essay to be considered for a spot at the camp, according to their website. The camp accommodates skiers of all levels of expertise. While Littlefield is a veteran for her age, Roy resident Todd Michaels skied for the first time at the camp. It's a pretty awesome opportunity for me and them to be up there on the mountain, having a good time and not having to think about being an amputee. There are some things we can do and some things we can't do, and this is something we can all do pretty well. –Kevin Clark, Shriners Hospital for Children "I started two days ago, so I'm still on the first time, but it's really fun," he said. "I played soccer for about seven years, played football for two years, and snowboarding is much better than both those combined. It's just awesome, the thrill of the mountain and everything." The camp is a place where teens like Michaels and Littlefield can break barriers and not have to think about being an amputee, said Kevin Clark, who works for Shriners and is helping with the camp. "The first day they're usually pretty timid, kind of shy and don't want to get out there and explore too much," he said. "But by day two or three, they're blending in with the group, going down the mountain as fast as they can and they're having a great time." However, it's not just a life changing opportunity for the kids, but for the adults working with them to teach them how to ski as well. "It's a pretty awesome opportunity for me and them to be up there on the mountain, having a good time and not having to think about being an amputee," he said. "There are some things we can do and some things we can't do, and this is something we can all do pretty well."