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46 Reviews
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November 30, 2010

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November 30, 2010

My husband and I were able to receive scholarships to attend FD's first couples retreat. Since I went through cancer when our relationship was still in the very early stages (he was just my boyfriend) it was very helpful and empowering to be around other couples with the same issues we struggled with. I did great on the white water kayaking. It was a great bonding experience for me and my husband. I think it was a great way not only to boost my self confidence but to reassure him that I was ok. FD cooked all homemade meals family style while we were there. There were so many WONDERFUL volunteers with the organization and this trip. We had an ER doctor that came down the river with us on his day off, the kayak enthusiasts who enlisted their friends to loan their boats for the week, etc.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Participated in week long kayak retreat for young adult cancer survivors

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

FD was a wonderful experience and I can't wait to go again and support their work!

September 18, 2010

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September 18, 2010

I haven't felt so alive in a long time!! You start to think the world actually only consists of what you're experiencing, like surgeries or uncertainty or loss... but then you taste mountain air and spider up a rock face and remember THERE IS SO MUCH MORE LIFE TO BE LIVED.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

a renewed passion for life.

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Phenomenal. Caring and giving, without fail. Relaxed and open. Treated us as individuals, as friends, and as equals.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

December 23, 2009

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December 23, 2009

I was a participant in one of the FD kayaking programs last summer. It changed my life. I'll never forget the connections I made with other survivors and one day I hope to be able to give back to this great organization that has given me so much!

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

amazing! I was overwhelmed by the generosity and how much they cared about all of us.

Ways to make it better...

it had been longer :) A week was great, but I didn't want to go home!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

One time

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

August 10, 2009

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August 10, 2009

Cancer taught me about death. First Descents taught me how to live. Most valuable week of my life. I hope many others will be able to attend and benefit as I did.

More feedback...

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

unbelievably caring and giving.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

serve all the young adults with cancer!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 31, 2009

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July 31, 2009

This program is amazing. As a benefactor of a wonderful week kayaking in Montana near Glacier National Park, I can highly recommend this program. A huge part of what makes it so great is the amazing volunteer staff. I know that this organization spends it's money wisely on providing wonderful experiences for cancer survivors. As someone said, "This is a cancer camp that's not about cancer." It's about amazing experiences, challenging yourself to do something difficult and sometimes scary, and making great friends along the way.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The smiles and laughter and triumph on the faces of the program participants after shooting a class III rapid at the end of the week.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Continue to do exactly what they are doing and find ways to make it available to more people.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

The people!

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Fun-loving, caring, dedicated, funny, talented, generous, lovely and inspirational people.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Offer kayaking and other outdoor challenges to cancer survivors around the world!

Ways to make it better...

I could have stayed three more weeks with these amazing people in this incredible place!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

Finding places for the hoards of people who want to participate in this program.

One thing I'd also say is that...

This was one of the best experiences of a life with many great experiences!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 31, 2009

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July 31, 2009

Magical. Energizing. Peaceful. Challenging. Loving. First Descents ranks up there as one of my all-time favorite experiences. The moment I stepped off the plane and met my fellow FDers, it felt like a family. I was amazed at the instant trust each one of the campers had in the volunteers and counselors. FD gives you an opportunity to be out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself in the midst of the most beautiful spots in the country. Because of my experience with First Descents, I even more grateful for my second chance at life.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The smiling faces of those returning campers and the courage gained during the week.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

get a spokesperson who is a motivational speaker and ask them to plug the FD whenever possible.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the generous, kind individuals involved. They are wonderful people with amazing hearts.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

loving, fun, hilarious, trustworthy, and genuinely interested in the well-being of each camper.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide this wonderful,memorable experience to hundreds of more campers and expand outside the United States.

Ways to make it better...

we could have stayed longer.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

fundraising and awareness.

One thing I'd also say is that...

this organization is good thing and it deserves any and all recognition that comes its way.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 30, 2009

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July 30, 2009

I took my First Descent in June 2008, and it was an experience that would forever change my life. In August 2004, at 32 years of age, my carefree world as I knew it was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. For the next 7 months, I battled this disease with every ounce of strength I had. I easily coasted through my treatments and surgeries never imagining that the period following my cancer treatment would be so difficult. For months afterwards, I struggled to find my “new normal”. I felt that I had missed out on so much as I watched my friends around me move up in their careers, get married, and have children. I often felt I had no one to turn to, no person who would understand how I really felt. And then there was the constant fear of mortality... In June 2008, I boarded a plane to a First Descents camp in Montana with many reservations. To my surprise, my reluctant decision to attend was one of the the best decisions I ever made! For the first time since I was diagnosed, I did not feel different or pitied. I was challenged to do things that I thought I could never do. I learned the true beauty of humankind through the volunteers I met. I took a little piece from each camper that to this day continues to inspire me. Most importantly, I learned to love myself again. I returned home happy, empowered, and part of a whole new family. Thanks in grand part to First Descents, I was finally able to close my "cancer" chapter. No more pity parties for me!! I have since completed a half-marathon, learned how to snow ski, continued my travels, and returned to the "social scene". My wonderful medical team in Miami may have cured me physically, but First Descents mended my battered heart and soul.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

how many FD campers I have met who have been so profoundly impacted by their experience at First Descents.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the family I have gained. I still turn to many of my FD friends for support. Although months may pass before I see them again, we pick up right where we left off.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

selfless, caring, loving, simply amazing... I regained my faith in people after my first FD camp...

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

serve thousands in the neediest and mostly forgotten population of cancer survivors - the young adults...

Ways to make it better...

I could see my FD family more often!

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

fundraising and creating awareness.

One thing I'd also say is that...

Brad Ludden and Corey Nielsen, the founder and cofounder of First Descents, are two of the most amazing people I have ever met. I thank God everyday for sending these two beautiful angels my way...

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 30, 2009

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July 30, 2009

First Descents was amazing experience. I was able to conquer my fears, meet new people, and do things I never thought was possible. It allowed me to focus on things other than my cancer. But, it also allowed me to joke about cancer with people who understood where I was coming from. I believe that FD is one of the best things that I have ever done. I am lucky to have been able to participate in such a great program.

Photos

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

myself. I believe it allowed me to learn things about myself that might not have been possible else where.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

try and have more camps. I believe every young adult that has or has had cancer should go to this camp.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

learning about myself and that I can push myself farther than I thought possible. It also taught me to appreciate what I have because it could be taken away before you know it.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

fabulous. The staff and volunteers were so generous, patient and understanding. I felt that they all were genuinely enjoying themselves and definitely believed in what they were doing.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

widen that amount of people that it served. FD could also have longer camps...which I know I would love.

Ways to make it better...

I don't think it could have been better. It exceeded my expectations.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

the costs that it takes to put the camp together. I feel like if they were able to have more money they could help more people with travel stipends and with having more camps throughout the year and the US.

One thing I'd also say is that...

I had an unbelievable experience and I feel so lucky to be a part of the FD family. I now tell anyone who will listen that FD has made a big impact in my life.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 30, 2009

more

July 30, 2009

First Descents has a unique offering of adventure which bring together young adults. Together we face our fears and take on bigger challenges each day. Without the forces walls of a therapy room or hospital, the conversations naturally occur. The friendships are life-long and the new found confidence is amazing. First Descents is the best thing to come from my cancer experience. FD offers well structured programs, with highly qualified staff. The amount of care put into our safety is amazing. Thank you FD!!!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the faces of my peers

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

love my job

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the friends I made

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

respsible and curious

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

provide more detailed one on one intruction

Ways to make it better...

I could go every week of the year

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

recruitment

One thing I'd also say is that...

having a staff that balances fun and safety is important

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

July 28, 2009

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July 28, 2009

It was amazing to see what happened when two of my worlds collided. The experience was surreal as I met people whose passion for nature was shared with people who truly understand the need to live for the moment. I saw one group inspired because the other group showed them that there was nothing wrong with living life for the moment. I saw the other group inspired by being shown how. It was the first time in my life I was able to be with survivors, face to face, in a place that encouraged deep conversation.

Photos

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

getting back in touch with the two most important parts of my life: surviving cancer, and being in the mountains.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

open minded. I've met few people that can have a discussion about cancer without feeling awkward. Having them be so open minded helped me be more open.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

do more than the ACS, Livestrong foundation, and Susan G. Komen put together. A lean staff, and direct effect on cancer survivors makes it the most efficient program of which I know.

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

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