Blog posts in No Barriers

No Barriers Kayaking Blind Expedition White Water Highlights

We have a new action-packed kayaking video to share with you! The team arrived home late Monday night, and they have been working hard on creating some new videos to share with the community. We hope you enjoy learning about how the team experienced white water on the Grand Canyon in the excerpt below. From Erik:  "For a sighted adventurer, the Grand Canyon is a visual masterpiece with huge chaotic rapids surrounded by steep rock walls tiering upward for thousands of feet.

Day #16: Monday, September 22, 2014-Post Lava Falls & Skyler's No Barriers Pledge

Day #16: Monday, September 22, 2014-Post Lava Falls We heard from the team this morning via text. They camped out below Lava Falls, relieved to have this section of the river behind them. The resting spot is called Tequila Beach. Go figure. Lava presented the team with some unexpected drama that can only be described as chaotic success. Michael Brown, our film director, has assured us of some good entertainment as he works to tell this story on film. Meanwhile, Skyler reports, “The last week or so has been very walled in, so dispatches have been guerrilla operations.

Teachers Climb Too

Teachers are often the light that help shape children’s lives as they grow into adults. Earlier this year, I was blessed to be a part of an inspiring teacher’s story.  Clare La Pier reached out to me through my blog shortly after reading my memoir. She’s taken on a lot of adversity in her own life and has used it as fuel to push herself forward, as well as to push her students toward their own summits. Recently, she took the No Barriers Pledge, and here’s an excerpt from her powerful blog comment:

Tim Conners, Continuing to Climb

My friend Tim Conners and his mom Betsy have just taken a huge step in their lives. Tim was diagnosed with Leukemia when he was 15 years old. After going through chemotherapy and then a bone marrow transplant that resulted in a complication that made him blind, Tim, needless to say, has been through the ringer. However, Tim is a “climber".  I originally met Tim when I was contacted by the Make a Wish Foundation a few years ago. After speaking with Tim, my teammate Skyler and I brainstormed with him and his mom and decided to do something fun but also adventurous together.

No Barriers Grand Canyon Expedition 2014

Two blind guys are going to take on kayaking the Grand Canyon in September 2014. As Lonnie Bedwell and I paddle 277 miles through the Grand Canyon, we hope to encourage 1 million people to take the No Barriers Pledge, a pledge that says, What's within me is stronger than what’s in my way. We hope our big challenge will push others to pick a significant barrier holding them back, attack it, and shatter it into a million pieces. I first learned about Lonnie when my team and I were doing a training trip on the Colorado River.

"High Ground" Shown at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Florida

Last Friday, our film High Ground, highlighting the struggles of injured soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as they re-enter a civilian world, was shown at USCENTCOM (U.S. Central Command) in Tampa.  Major General Michael Garrett presided over our visit. We learned such a screening was unprecedented in USCENTCOM history, a huge honor for us all.

No Barriers USA Pledge Completion

Over the past year and a half, I have been striving to complete another summit in my life, a $1 million pledge to No Barriers USA. One of the great blessings of my life has been roping up with others who share the same vision, and I thank them all for helping me to fulfill my pledge. I share this to remind all of us to never stop climbing and to never forget, what’s inside of us is stronger than what’s in our way.

They are back! REACH Pendants

Touch the Top announces we are selling our REACH Pendants again this year. Last year we took a big reach ourselves by embarking on this new venture, and it was so wildly popular, we’ve decided to bring it back for the holidays. All proceeds will go towards a scholarship for a deserving teenager to participate in a No Barriers - Leading the Way experience. These trips take teams of kids: blind and sighted, deaf and hearing:  on multi-day journeys down the Grand Canyon. The mission is to help youth learn to tap into the human spirit, push through adversity, and embrace a No Barriers Mindset.

No Barriers South Pole Allied Challenge Meets the Queen

It is utterly amazing to witness individuals who push themselves to show the world what determination, teamwork, and a common vision can accomplish. Imagine cross-country skiing nine miles a day with a total of 208 miles over the course of 16 days in temperatures as low as -50 degrees Fahrenheit and winds blasting against you at 50mph. To add icing on the cake, put yourself in the shoes of someone pulling 154 pounds on an arctic sledge with your eyes and hearts set on the vision of reaching the South Pole.

Third S2S Expedition Returns – Two Steps Upward, One Slide Back

A couple weeks ago, I returned from our third Soldiers to Summits expedition high in the Peruvian Andes, with 15 veterans, all with either physical injuries or mental and psychological trauma. I met the team back in August at the No Barriers Summit during their first training session. I got acquainted with Aaron Hale, blind for less than two years. Aaron was leading an Army bomb squad when an IED exploded in his face. It took out his eyes, blew out his eardrums, took away his sense of smell and fractured his cranium and face bones.

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