How The Summit Put Our Dreams in the Foreground

No Barriers USA, SummitAnyone who has received “The Call” knows how that instant can totally change the direction of life. For me, it was the call from local first responders — my husband Joe had an automobile accident and suffered a stroke.

The stroke paralyzed his left side, taking with it all eyesight left of center, making reading and writing very difficult. That was nearly five years ago. With therapy and hard work Joe is walking with a cane, biking on an adapted TerraTrike, and with sheer determination, able to do some reading.

In the midst of winter, a season especially tough on Joe, our daughter called to tell us about an amazing event being planned in her hometown of Park City, Utah. Settling in to peruse the No Barriers website and read the testimonials of previous attendees, I was in tears. Joe and I always enjoyed sports together — hiking, camping, boating, biking, and paddle tennis to name a few — and No Barriers could give some of that back by adapting these sports and activities to his specific needs. I knew then and there that whatever it took we would make it to the Summit.

Upon our arrival at the Canyons plaza and through to the closing ceremony, from every speaker, vendor, and volunteer the message was clear — every person can put their disability into the background and their dreams into the foreground.

This was especially true at the equine workshop. Joe chose to work with Curly, the horse that seemed “new to the program.” Helping to put a harness on Curly, leading Curly through the ring, and being part of the team is an experience Joe will never forget.

Stroke can zap one’s self confidence but there seemed no sign of it at the Summit as he approached vendors to discuss the merits of a cane vs SideStix, chatted with owners of service dogs, and checked out the four wheelers. Fatigue, too, is often an issue with stroke, but when wearing the No Barriers shirt with the logo declaring, “What’s Within You is Stronger Than What’s in Your Way,” both our daughter, Meg, and I saw Joe challenge himself with much more walking and stair climbing.

Personally, I too had an unexpected revelation at the Summit while in the Equine ring.  I hadn’t planned to take part in that particular program, pontifically thinking that being the able bodied one, I would just take the No Barriers USA, Summitphotographs. It wasn’t until the lead volunteer coaxed me into the ring that I realized that I did not like being in there with the horses — not one bit! But with the gentle instruction of the volunteers, by the end of the session, I felt that feeling of personal accomplishment. Being so focused on Joe’s recovery I had been neglecting to challenge myself.

Joe wants others to be able to experience the Summit.  He has passed Summit info not only to friends who would benefit from attending, but also to his medical team so that they could make referrals. He tells them that around the neighborhood, he’s the guy in the wheelchair who had a stroke, but at the Summit, he was one of the crowd.

Thanks, No Barriers!  We are elated that this will now be an annual event and we will definitely see you next summer in Colorado!