Monday, April 4, 2011

First Descents Ball

Friday morning began with the usual news - Nick is neutropenic - his ANC count is .8 meaning any fever earns a trip to the hospital. Here's a great idea, let's take Nick to a fundraising ball in Vail, Colorado, so he can mingle with about 500 people tomorrow night! He started on antibiotics to at least ward off a germ or two.

Friday afternoon included a camera crew from "Turning Point" in our home. Turning Point is a PBS documentary series aimed to motivate and inspire ordinary people to re-evaluate their own contribution by sharing moving stories of other "ordinary people" who have truly made a difference. Turning Point is doing a story on Brad Ludden, founder of First Descents, and asked to follow a camper around allowing him to share his story of why First Descents has made an impact on his life. FD chose Nick and next thing you know, we have a camera crew - complete with an audio boom, interviewing Nick. I arrived home 30 minutes late to pick up Nick, specifically avoiding the crew. I was wrong in my timing as I was quickly seated in a chair to answer questions about Nick and First Descents. No time to check the mirror or my nerves. I did good, though, and didn't cry once! Thankfully, Nick did a superb job and the crew will meet him at camp next Monday to tag along with him there.

Lee, Nick and I finally hit the road towards Moab. We arrived around 10:30 p.m. so just had time to say hi and good night to our friends. The next morning was absolutely beautiful in Moab. We enjoyed a delightful breakfast on the patio with Colin & Monica, overlooking the Colorado River. We made it to Vail around 3:00 p.m. in time to get dressed and arrive at the silent auction by 5:00. Nick looked particularly handsome, with the help of his new mustache. Many people asked Nick if it was real, but he explained if it was real, only the left side would have grown in. The first people to greet us was Brad Ludden, Corey & Lisa Nielsen. The FD Ball was first class. We were able to bring home a few items that we "won" in the silent auction. Dinner was delicious! There were a few guest speakers: April (aka Lemon Drop) - a breast cancer survivor and FD camper; Ryan Sutter (aka G-String; aka Ryan & Trista from the Bachelorette) - raised over $100,000 by competing in 10 major endurance events in 2010; and my favorite, Tailz (can't remember what his real name is) - he was the first blind camper to make it down the river in a kayak, assisted by Brad who was in a kayak ahead of him, paddling backwards, calling out instructions. His story and short video were amazing and solidified why we love FD so much. Nick was surrounded by his FD friends and he had a blast; what a perfect environment for him! We have some footage of him dancing but we promised we wouldn't post it. Matt (aka Mateo), Kelsey (aka Buttons) & Nick (aka Nickname)

Corey (aka Darryl from Darryl & Darryl - Brad is the other Darryl), Lisa (aka Googleybear) & Nick (aka Nickname) Amy & Matt (aka Southpaw) Meiners & Nick (Matt is a fellow rhabdo warrior and we have followed his journey through his blog; it was fantastic to finally meet them both!)

We made it back to Moab Sunday morning for Nick to attend the next two rock mountain climbing FD camps - a perfect venue for Nick's well-being. Nick had a hiccup in having some car troubles. After several phone calls, a tow truck and a borrowed vehicle (thank you, Colin), he is back with the pack. Wow, car troubles - what a normal experience for a 22 year old! It's going to be a great two weeks!

If you are curious about FD, here is a great article written for ESPN:

With love,



Chris Ulvin said...

Hello Nick, family and friends
What a great posting to start my day with! For all of us, each day is a "Turning Point"! May we be inspired by God, motivated by the ordinary people He has placed in our lives, and make a difference by praying, doing and giving. Dear Lord, keep Nick safe and healthy as he climbs to new heights these next two weeks. May his body be Rambo (with a mustache) against his rhabdo Amen.
Love, aunt Chris

Anonymous said...

Awesome Pictures and ESPN Article
(forgot to leave my name -- Amy, Delaney's mom)

Anonymous said...

I love the mustache!! Sooooo glad you had fun at the ball. Enjoy the FD camp and your Moab fellow wranglers. Lori et al enjoy yourselves too. Love, healing, happiness, strength and positiveness always. GM Jennie xx

Anonymous said...

Hey Guys,
It was nice to finally meet you all at the FD ball. The pictures are great. Hope our rhabdo warriors are kickin' back in Moab and having an awesome time. Prayers are being said for all of you. I know Nick is going to keep kicking rhabdo butt.
With Hope & Strength
Amy & Matt