On April 27th, 2023, Pete Quinn spoke about why adventure should be accessible to everyone. Hear his powerful words! (Or read them below).
Intro: Pete Quinn grew up in an active family as the youngest of 5 children. He was on skis at age 2, and his childhood days were filled with a variety of family adventures, from skiing to tennis to family softball and football, skating on ponds and the occasional scuffle with his older brother as they fouled each other in their 1 on 1 basketball face-offs.
Pete went on to be a dual sport athlete at UNH (skiing and tennis), after which he taught Math and coached at a ski racing academy in New Hampshire. Pete eventually returned to UNH for graduate school and pursued a professional career with a handful of consulting firms in the areas of business development and corporate strategy. Weekends were spent coaching ski racing in winter and bike racing in summer. Pete eventually worked as an independent consultant, allowing him to spend more time raising his 3 children.
Outdoor adventure has always been a critical part of Pete’s life—a key piece of his identity, his DNA. It is one of the places that is “home” to his soul. So, when a disease that progressively attacks the body showed up on his doorstep in 2015 and began taking away his ability to move– a new, often dark, chapter of his life began…”
Pete has Primary Lateral Sclerosis, a very rare, progressive neurological disease that mimics ALS and Parkinson’s Disease, yet with an unknown trajectory. We’ve asked him to speak about “why making adventures accessible to everyone is important”
Freedom & Equality…
Are two rights I’ve taken for granted most of my whole life… For most of my 62 years. Sixty two!
That all changed one day in December of 2015. That day when I got the very first symptom of my disease – very, very small. I remember the day well. I remember where I was and exactly what I was doing. I remember the solitary nature of that moment….perhaps FORESHADOWING the road ahead of me.
Over the next several years, the disease progressed. The most obvious signs are physical, … I became unable to do many of the things that give me joy, the things that fill my soul, the things that fuel a fire within me– I couldn’t ride my bike, I couldn’t ski, I couldn’t kick the soccer ball around with my son, Luke, or my daughters Kara & Alexa…I couldn’t exercise with my beloved kettlebells!…Today, I struggle to walk with my walker. I KNOW THERE IS MORE AHEAD…
There were other changes. Not only was the disease stripping me of the things I love to do, the things that gave me joy… But, my phone stopped ringing; people began to avoid me; It was harder to go to places where people gathered. I began to feel like a like a prisoner; my world was closing in…I suddenly found myself ISOLATED, ALONE, and LONELY.
I had become disabled before my very eyes. The words “CAN NOT” invaded my world…I cannot do this, I cannot do that. Every day was something new.
What I needed to hear was “Yes you can, Bro!” Yes you will. You will ride a bike again. Maybe not the same bike you rode before. You will ski again! Maybe not standing up, but you will ski.
Waypoint says, “Yes, you can!” Waypoint says, “Yes, you will!”
I carried on… Those years were hard… But I also learned something very quickly. I learned that every day I need to smile. Every day, I need to laugh. But I don’t have great days every day. In fact, I have bad days. I don’t always want to smile. I know, hard to believe! I don’t always have the boisterous laugh that some of you may have heard. That my friends refer to as my OBNOXIOUS laugh. In a loving way, of course.
It’s true, I have bad days. I have dark days. Dark days when I feel trapped like a caged animal. I feel like I’m ALIVE BUT NOT LIVING—like I’m just existing; just taking up SPACE…like my existence DOESN’T MATTER…I have no purpose. Like I’m on the sidelines of life without ANY chance of every getting into the game again.
BUT ON MY BEST DAYS, I feel like…like I did on October 12, 2022… when I went on a bike ride with Waypoint.
There’s the magic. The Waypoint magic. I’ll tell you exactly what that felt like:
- I felt ALIVE and like I was LIVING
- I felt JOY
- I felt CARED FOR
- I felt SUPPORTED
- I felt PASSION
- I felt FIRE
- I felt HOPE
- I felt…FREE
- I felt…EQUAL
- I felt COMMUNITY!
That’s Waypoint right there. Those are the gifts that Waypoint is giving to the Disabled.
In-fact, those are the gifts that ALL OF YOU are giving to the Disabled. Whether you give money, or whether you volunteer your time and effort… or whether you lend emotional and moral support. These are the gifts you are giving. You are breathing the life into the souls of the Disabled. I REPEAT, you are BREATHING THE LIFE INTO THE SOULS OF THE DISABLED.
I can think of NO more worthy cause …THANK YOU.