I have taken part in a few events over the past couple months, but there are two I would like to highlight. The first was a pre lunch talk I gave to my former high school. The Winter Sports School at Park City. I spoke on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in regards to their school and youth programs and pennies for patients. The Winter Sports School was raising money to be donated for the program. I was there simply to get the kids pumped about raising the funds but also to give them a tangible link to the funds raised. I was there to show them how much of a difference funds like this can make and sometimes and most times it’s the people right under their noses it affects but it’s not always easily seen. Anyways it was really fun to speak in front of some former teachers and the future of the school. I also had a great time checking out the new school, which is amazing, and definitely an upgrade from the old trailers that we had for our school days!
The next event was one of my favorite events I have done this year! This past week I went down the airport and thanks to Delta Airlines, hopped onto a jet going to the North Pole along with 50 kids from both Shriners and Primary Children’s Hospitals. To see the smile on these kid’s faces was amazing, they were so pumped and you could tell they needed those smiles. For many it was their first trip outside the hospital in a while and I was beyond excited for them. I took the flight with them, signed and handed out autographs alongside the bee’s and BYU’s mascots. The kids went from us to meet Santa & Mrs. Clause, they had the opportunity to check out Santa’s slay and some elves too. After all that was over I hung around to offer assistance to carry lunch plates to their tables. Delta gave each of the kid’s presents to open for Christmas; some couldn’t wait and walked out with brand new toys in hands! Others kept the gifts wrapped and waited to open them until the 25th. Regardless it was such a fun few hours and I am really appreciative I was invited to help out with the event.
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This past week I attended two charity events in two states. The first event was Thursday night in Steamboat, the second event was Friday morning at the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City. What does that mean? A very eventful drive on highway 40 in the middle of the night dodging every species known to colorado and Utah. The important thing is that I didn't hit a single one and that made the trip a success.
Thursday evening I attended the Yampa Valley Medical Center's 100th anniversary Gala. In addition to the YVMC anniversary bash it was also an event to show their fundraising efforts for a new designated Cancer Treatment Center. As one of the first patients ever to be partially treated at the YVMC for Cancer I felt it was hugely important that I show how crucial this is to the community and show face at the event. When I was undergoing Chemotherapy the trip to Denver was extremely hard on both my parents and myself, when the gracious nurses and doctors at YVMC said they wanted to try and administer chemo locally, My parents and I were relieved not to have to make the trip quite as often. I was very excited to attend, and I am very glad I made the trip as the event was a lot of fun and really cool to see their progress on fundraising. I was also honored to have the opportunity to meet some of the other survivors treated at YVMC.
After the drive and a couple hour nap I joined the CureSearch organization at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. This was an amazing opportunity for me as I was allowed to sit in and learn about the newest innovations in child hood cancer treatments. Specifically we learned about Ewing Sarcoma and the role the EWS/FLI Gene plays in the development of this cancer. Ewing Sarcoma is one of the most difficult cancers to treat and the HCI has shown some amazing breakthroughs. The details are very chemistry heavy but it was perfect timing as I just finished a chemistry class that gave me knowledge enough to understand what they were talking about. After the presentations our group went on a tour of the facility, including the research labs! The whole facility is very impressive and I can definitely see why it's one of the best hospitals in the country for cancer treatment. I mean come on check out the size of this lab...
Most notably is that this lab has, no dividers, it's very much open and this allows for the ideas and projects to be viewed by all in the building allowing the free flow of ideas and collaboration on projects. This is one of the fastest growing concepts in laboratory science as a good idea can come from anyone at anytime. Needless to say it was a very interesting day learning about the behind the scenes work in today's front lines against cancer.
Lastly I want to thank Jan Fritz and the YVMC staff for inviting me to the Gala as well as Matt Kelly for inviting me on the HCI tour. I had a great time at both events and look forward to more in the future.
Recently Taylor and I were asked to be the closing speakers at the annual Utah High School Activities Association "Dare 2 Lead" Conference. The conference gathers two students from every high school in the state and inspires them to make connections across different schools. The event was amazing in the way it challenged kids to become leaders in their own way, to trust their instincts and be loyal to their virtues, be accepting of others and their differences. All 250 students that attended the conference broke down social barriers and became themselves, they used their own thoughts, and weren't afraid to question peer pressures and decide for themselves if they were right or wrong.
The conference uses the four "P's" of leadership in their motto. Purpose, Passion, Potential, Power, are taught to the students in a variety of ways throughout the day. I have to say they accurately describe characteristics of a leader, and challenge you to think about how they apply to your own life. So Taylor and I spoke on how the four "P's" relate to our lives and our journey to becoming Students, Athletes, and Olympians. We spoke for around 25 minutes which was easily the longest I have ever spoke for, however it was a blast and to be honest it was easier then speaking for 10 minutes by far.
Anyways to give you a better idea here is a highlight video from the day! Taylor and I have some short clips in there from just before we gave the speech.
Also here is a link to the UHSAA's website
This years helmet project was one of the most unique projects I have ever done. I have been wanting to do a project like this for a few years now, and this year thanks to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society the dream became a reality. The idea was to have two young kids, who have or are currently battling cancer design my helmet for the upcoming season. Their task was to draw a portrayal of what it was like for them to battle cancer. The idea for this image came from one of my first volunteer projects I was apart of. Long story short in the office of the organization there was a drawing of a knight slaying a dragon, done by a kid, in mostly stick figure form, the image was very, very powerful, yet simple and the message was clear! So this past summer I approached the Leukemia and Lymphoma society and asked for their help on this project. They Gladly accepted and already had two kids in mind. Rhett and Charlotte and I met a few weeks later and I gave them the challenge, with no hesitation they delivered and drew exactly what I was hoping! Charlotte drew herself as a fearless Lion, and as a Champion, Rhett drew himself as "Spidy" Kicking the evil villain "cancer's" butt. Along with the drawings I included some words of encouragement that are common among those who battle or have battle cancer.
At the end of this past season, the white helmet was auctioned off at the annual Man and Woman of the Year celebration. The black helmet is my current helmet I plan on using throughout this summer or until my next helmet project comes along! The next big event this helmet can be seen at is Springer Tournee and U.S. Nationals on August 1st-3rd in Park City, UT. Come out and watch some jumping and get an up close and personal view of the artwork...
For a little more info on the Man and Woman of the Year Campaign Check out the link below: