First Descents provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer.
A first descent is the first time a particular stretch of river has ever been successfully kayaked. As a metaphor for this deeply personal achievement, First Descents offers young adult cancer fighters and survivors free outdoor adventure experiences designed to empower them to climb, paddle, and surf beyond their diagnosis, defy their cancer, reclaim their lives, and connect with others doing the same.
During the First Descents experience, young adults with cancer (age 18-39) are empowered through conquering legitimate outdoor challenges to push their limits and face their fears, and by doing so, they are able to regain the confidence and self-efficacy lost to cancer. First Descents places an emphasis on each individual's experience and provides the right support for every participant to achieve their goals for the week. As an innovative model within the field of psychosocial therapy, the experience is designed to allow healing to happen naturally and organically. First Descents also provides year-round, regional support that builds upon its camp-based model, focusing on long-term community creation and information exchange.
"Through our First Descent, we ascended and transcended from cancer survivors to a family empowered. I've kayaked beyond my turbulent life and paddled my way to OUTLIVING IT!!! Thanks so much."
"Before I could only imagine dying. Now I can only imagine living."
"I am a single mom of 3 young kids, and since I was diagnosed 2 years ago I have never done anything like this for myself. This week, after 2 years of being very very angry at cancer for driving my marriage apart and completely stressing me and my family out, I have chosen to forgive cancer. This is the most amazing gift I could have ever been given, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know that I will return to my kids a new woman full of hope, optimism, happiness, and love. Thank you, thank you."
"My life post cancer has been mostly lows, very depressing, not believing in myself. FD taught me a valuable lesson……life is like a Wave Train. There is both ups and downs, but if you believe in yourself and hop on, you will have the ride of your life!! Thank you FD! I woov choo!"
"Because of my experience with First Descents, I am even more grateful for my second chance at life."
"Being blind [from cancer] has created a huge void in my life. That's why First Descents is so awesome. Just to be given that opportunity to get back into sports, it was surreal. I was finally an athlete again."
"Kayaking and cancer brought us together, but the living we experienced formed life long bonds."