Growing up and growing strong with OAS
Also posted in: OAS Media & News
Throughout this challenging year OAS has continued to create critical access to the mountains to support athletes like Ken who are growing up with our community. We hope you appreciate Ken’s letter and will consider a financial gift to OAS this holiday season. Our efforts are only possible because of your support, thank you!
Dear OAS Family:
My name is Ken Kumlin and I am a 14-year-old high school freshman. I was born with cerebral palsy. My cerebral palsy affects the nerves that control my motor skills, my ability to stand, walk, and run. As a young child I was limited in participating in school sports, playing with my friends, and many outdoor activities with my family, I certainly couldn’t ski, even with a lot of help from my family. I remember my dad having to carry and pull me up a steep hill just so we could sled down it.
At 8 years old I was introduced to Oregon Adaptive Sports at Mt Bachelor to learn to ski. I didn’t know what to think about this because I’d seen normal skiing on TV and I did not know how I could ski like them. When I saw a bi-ski in the OAS room, I thought it looked strange, and I was scared. When the OAS instructor and volunteers took me out on my first run down the slope, I wanted to go back and ski more. I was hooked! One of the best parts was to be able to ski with my parents on every lesson, to ski with my sisters, my Grandmother from Japan, and my grandfather.
I have continued to take ski lessons with OAS. I can’t get enough of the amazing feeling of the cold air in my face and the speed of the bi-ski slicing through the snow. As I have continued to take lessons at OAS, the team has made me feel like I’m a part of the OAS family.
Through hard work and with the support from my family and OAS, at age 12 I was able to take my first solo run-down Marshmallow at Mt. Bachelor. It was such a huge accomplishment for me to reach. I went from being a student-passenger to being an actual skier. I realized that as a solo skier I have the ability to chart my own course. It also helped me realize that my opportunities are what I make of them and I want to continue to push further, in skiing, and in life.
Through the time I have been involved with the OAS family I have participated in rock climbing, mountain biking, cycling, paddling and skiing. I am thankful to OAS for giving me the chance to do the sports that people without disabilities can do. I would not have known what I was capable of without the support of the OAS family and my own family.
Your support will help sustain access to the life-changing benefits of the outdoors for athletes like Ken. Thank you!