Rocky Mountain National Park announced July 27 that the Sam Schneider Legacy Foundation has donated an all-terrain wheelchair to Rocky Mountain Conservancy, which will be rented to guests through the Estes Park Mountain Shop.
Park visitors can now reserve the multipurpose wheelchair for free to use while exploring the RMNP.
“Using a sturdy three-wheel all-terrain wheelchair when exploring rocky trails and rough terrain can help broaden the experiences of RMNP visitors with disabilities,” park officials said.
In addition to all-terrain wheels and lever handles, the chair has push handles on the back so hiking buddies can help out, if needed.
Schneider’s family first contacted former Conservancy and Park employee Quinn Brett to donate the chair. In October 2017, Brett fell more than 100 feet while climbing El Capitan in Yosemite and suffered a T-12 ASIA A spinal cord injury, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.
Brett and Schneider fought similar battles and shared a similar passion for life and exploring all it has to offer.
“I grew up in a cabin and explored forests and water. I was very quickly drawn to the freedom and ability to create adventure as opposed to the orientation towards organized sports” , said Brett, “I am a bumblebee full of energy and have a natural need for movement. I think it is inherent that I have been drawn to running, swimming, biking, climbing and simply cover as much ground as possible, as efficiently as possible.
Brett told Schneider’s family that she would like to see the chair experienced and enjoyed by as many people as possible and came up with the idea of donating it to the Conservancy to be rented by park guests.
“Accessibility is a big priority in much of the work we do on the trails. The alluvial fan is a really accessible trail, but there are a ton of trails in the park and user groups who want more backcountry adventure beyond what a traditionally accessible trail can be. offer,” said Estee Rivera, executive director of Rocky Mountain Conservancy. “That’s when we started talking to Zach from the Estes Park Mountain Shop about potentially adding this chair to their fleet of rental equipment.”
The recently donated chair is hosted and rented by Estes Park Mountain Shop at 2050 Big Thompson Avenue and through the generosity of Estes Park resident and KEP Expedition Expeditionary Leader Brian Keapplinger, additional chairs have also been made available. arrangement.
“He reached out to us to expand his inventory of mobility chairs when people come up to us and say, ‘Hey, we’d like to use it but it’s already on reservation,’” said Zach Zehr of Estes Park Mountain Shop. . “He will donate his units to us so that we can continue to do what we do for free and extend this service to those in need.”
According to the foundation’s website, at age 19, Sam Schneider was an avid mountain biker who had just launched his college career at Fort Lewis College. At the end of November 2019, he started having neck and hip pain, but he thought it was the result of a few very active days of skiing and basketball, but after several visits to the doctor’s office, they decided to x-ray a lump on his arm.
Schneider didn’t give it much thought because his primary care physician had previously told him that the lump was simply due to overuse and that didn’t seem to be the source of his pain, but it was quickly determined that the lump was cancer and Sam immediately came back to Colorado and was admitted to Children’s Hospital.
In August 2020, Schneider received an “all clear” scan test result but, after a brief hiatus from the battle, his cancer returned in October, and he was told it could not be cured due to its “aggressive return and growth”. .
“Sam passed away on February 16, 2021, in the comfort of his home and in the arms of his family,” the website reads. “We miss him deeply, but we continue to honor him and his desire to raise awareness about Ewing’s sarcoma in the hopes of enabling increased early detection for others, as his cancer was detected long after he became metastatic, which is so common in Ewing’s patients.”
To support Sam’s vision, the Sam Schneider Legacy Foundation was established with a mission to raise funds for Ewing’s sarcoma research, raise awareness of Ewing’s sarcoma and childhood cancers, provide training for professionals health and tell Sam’s story.
To reserve this all-terrain wheelchair at no charge, call the Estes Park Mountain Shop at 970-586-6548 or visit www.EstesParkMountainShop.com/Summer-Rentals.
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