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Ken Duke: Unstoppable

_sRAPXYHufhcgeCEv3DO3i_GOE717_84tRbcXAFxZsc“Without the NAC’s cycling program and equipment, I would not have the personal resources to train for this year’s 52-mile Summit Challenge. ”

—Ken Duke

Ken Duke is not one to let anything get in his way.

In fact, his journey to the National Ability Center can take as many as four hours each way. It begins with a one-mile walk to a bus stop near his home in Salt Lake City. Next, Ken takes two buses and Park City’s Dial-A-Ride public transit service to meet up with our adaptive sport programs.
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Sue Epstein: Pedaling Strong

Sue Epstein, who divides her time between Park City and upstate New York, was accustomed to accomplishment. Having competed in equestrian competitions, served as director of a therapeutic horseback riding organization and cycled all over the world in places such as Italy and Slovenia, Sue assumed those days were now over. Diagnosed with Glioblastoma in the motor strip at age 62, Sue was given the choice to let the brain tumor take her life, or to live with a disability. To Sue, the choice was clear. Following surgery, the entire right side of Sue’s body became immobile. She’s fortunate to not have suffered cognitive effects.

“I still cry happy tears when I think how much it means to me to be able to participate in sports. I didn’t expect to be treated with the dignity that I’ve received here. ” -Sue Epstein

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I am National Ability Center: Ali Steenis

From an early age, Ali Steenis was fearless. Whether climbing the monkey bars despite protesting teachers or racing any boy who dared to challenge her, Ali, who was born with a visual impairment, never let her lack of sight get in the way. Her independent spirit grew when Ali’s parents enrolled her in therapeutic horseback riding lessons. She found her passion in horses within the supportive world of therapeutic riding, and with the desire to compete alongside able-bodied peers, Ali transitioned out of therapeutic riding and into dressage.
Ali received her first guide dog the summer before her senior year and graduated with honors, going on to attend Seattle Pacific University for business management. Following her freshman year, Ali discovered the National Ability Center, and was accepted into their COACH internship program. Taking a leap of faith, she moved to Park City for a summer that would change her life.

 

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Luke Golla: Ability on the Slopes

“This is one of my proudest memories of Luke because he accomplished something he wanted to do”

—Luke’s father, Steven Golla

As parents of a stubborn, strong-willed and energetic nine year old, Steven and Christie Golla have raised their son Luke, who has Down syndrome, with high expectations.

The family of six hails from Texas, where snow is a novelty. Their visits to Park City include the whole family, a luxury the Gollas might not have otherwise experienced without the assistance of the National Ability Center.
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Snowboarding Is My Escape

“When I’m on my board you can’t tell I’m missing a leg, I’m ‘normal.’ no questions asked. . . snowboarding is my escape.”

—Brenna Huckaby

As a child, Brenna Huckaby did gymnastics all day, every day. In her (very limited) spare time, she could be found playing in the woods, trying to climb the tallest trees alongside her older brothers. But faced with Osteosarcoma (a cancerous bone tumor) at age fourteen, Brenna’s only chance for survival was chemotherapy . . . and an above-the-knee leg amputation. She returned to gymnastics after recovering, but with a prosthetic limb, had to start at the very beginning, rather than where she left off. “It was a tough pill to swallow so I switched gears into snowboarding, my new passion.” Read More

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In Partnership with Kimball Arts Center

“We are thrilled and honored with this ever-evolving partnership with the NAC and for all of the opportunities this partnership affords us to serve others in relevant and meaningful ways. ”

—Amy MacDonald, Kimball Art Center

Kimball Art Center LogoOver the past several months, the Kimball Art Center (KAC) has had the great opportunity to partner and collaborate with the National Ability Center in Park City. Both entities value programs and services that empower individuals, and share the “human experience.” The KACs Education Director, Amy MacDonald talks about how this relationship is evolving, and what programs are being born: Read More

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Life Is Not Guaranteed

“Facing these obstacles and conquering them truly empowered my children and laid a foundation for positive thinking, showing them that anything is possible if you try.”

—Chris Miller

The Miller Family at National Ability CenterThe Miller family (Chris, Emily, Grace, Gabriela and Jackson) greatly benefitted from their Project Sanctuary retreat at the National Ability Center, crossing boundaries they never knew existed. The kids were pushed to do things they didn’t know they could do, nor would ever have the chance to do in their small town of Farmington, Missouri.

“Facing these obstacles and conquering them truly empowered my children and laid a foundation for positive thinking, showing them that anything is possible if you try.” Read More

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From The Horse’s Mouth: Lukas and Ayla

The job of a National Ability Center therapy horse doesn’t end when they retire from the equestrian program. Six years ago, a family approached Equestrian Resource Manager, Jan Drake, hoping she could point them toward finding a horse for their grandson who has autism.

“They were having a really hard time finding the right horse . . . That’s when I got the idea to retire our horses a little early in order to place them with a family that needs their special talents,” Jan explained.

Retired Therapy HorsesHorses in the equestrian program go through a rigorous prescreening and trial process as their eligibility to work with diverse populations is determined. This makes National Ability Center horses perfect for families with special needs. Read More

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National Ability Center Story: Madi & Ashlee

Madi has excelled with National Ability Center in our programs and and COACH Intern. Watch her story and see how opportunities for recreation, education and community can make a positive impact for individuals of all abilities and their families.

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