Ready to go!
One of the many benefits of owning and authoring Come Roll With Me is meeting inspirational people. I am inspired daily by ordinary people doing extraordinary things. I recently featured Brianna, a TBI Thriver. This summer Brianna has inspired me to push my comfort zone. Brianna’s mom invited us to join her for an activity I never thought possible…Water Skiing!
When I was a kid, I lived on Lake Wausau. My summers were filled with boating, tubing and swimming. I miss those days, as the water always gave me a sense of freedom from my body. As I grew older, I became too big for my mom to get me in and out of the water. As a result, my water experiences have become less frequent. So when my mom approached me with this idea, I was a bit anxious. I am at the mercy of those around me in the water, so trusting strangers with my safety is difficult. Additionally, the event was in Wisconsin Rapids on a lake I have never been on before, Lake Wazeecha.
Lynzay Legois Free Water Skiing Club
However, I knew I had to do this! I have been pushing myself to live life without regrets. My mom encourages me to try new things, but this time even she was super concerned. A phone call with Kurt Roskopf from the Lynzay Legois Free Water Skiing Club reassured her, but did not totally put her worries to rest. I knew that I could back out even at the last second if I was uncomfortable and that made me feel good about this event.
The Lynzay Legois Free Water Skiing Club’s mission statement is “To share a positive Christian message through free and for fun water ski lessons with focus on Adaptive water skiing featuring the Joski Sit Ski.” Lynzay Legois was a talented water skier who was tragically killed in an auto accident on December 12, 2006 at the age of 14. Her dad, Rick, created the Lynzay Legois Free Water Skiing Club to honor her memory.
Every year the Lynzay Legois Free Water Skiing Club hosts the Adaptive & Inclusive Water Skiing for and with Skiers with Diverse Abilities Event during the Wisconsin State Water Ski Show Championships. This event is open to the public. The event is designed for all diverse abilities. I joined Brianna (TBI), a young lady with Down Syndrome, a young man with Autism and a fellow CP’er for this water skiing event.
Waiting for my turn!
Adaptive & Inclusive Water Skiing for and with Skiers with Diverse Abilities Event
In addition to my mom, my caregiver, Amy joined me. I was really excited to try something new. A group of very enthusiastic people greeted us upon our arrival, their energy definitely made me more excited. The pouring rain gave me a bit of concern. However, it was clear this group was not going to let rain interfere with the dream of water skiing!
One side benefit of this whole event was getting to meet Brianna in person! I watched her ski around the lake. Her practice of living life to the fullest continues to inspire me.
A young lady with Down Syndrome, went before me. I was feeling encouraged by her excitement. Then she fell out of the chair and it took awhile to get her back in. I was a bit nervous at first because I was wondering how they would get me back into the ski chair. However, no one else seemed alarmed, so that put me at ease. When she returned full of smiles, it was my turn to go.
Joski Sit Ski
I am considered “total care” because my CP is severe. This was not even considered an obstacle to this group. Their “it’s not a big deal” view of my disability really was refreshing and empowering. They simply gathered a team, lifted me out of my chair, put me into the sit ski and away we went. It literally was that easy.
Placement in the water gave me more security, but oh man, did my nerves kicked in. Amy hopped in the boat to take a video of ride. The boat revved up and I started to move through the water. I was white-knuckling the rope! As I began to glide through the water I realized “I am actually doing this”
I AM FREE
When we first took off the two skiers next to me were holding on to the ski chair. I did not realize they let go, which was a good thing! As I was skiing I did not feel the coldness of the water, I was gliding on pure adrenaline.
As my heart was beating out of my chest I realized “I AM FREE” Free from the limitations my physical body puts on me. I was free from my wheelchair, free from CP and free from an inaccessible world.
We went around the lake. The initial turn was scary! None of it compared to stopping at the end, believe it or not. Sudden jolts bring back memories of when my parents tortured me with roller coaster rides at Disney World.
However, I felt exhilarated. I, Hunter Kelch, a wheelchair using man with spastic quad CP went water skiing! This was one of my most shining moments. Pride filled me. I overcame my fears and anxiety and attempted the once thought impossible.
I was dripping wet from head to toe, but the guys did an amazing job of getting me back into my chair. My only regret was not getting everyone’s name. The continued rain sparked a hasty departure, so there was little time to chat. As we drove away, I was already looking forward to next year!
Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible! Until next time, Keep Rollin’ and Keep Smilin’
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