By Maria Papandreou, One Summit Manager of Development & Communications
In March of 2020, I don't think many people thought the COVID Pandemic would halt life as we know it to the extent it has. It has been 18 months since One Summit's last Climb for Courage. This past Saturday, we safely hosted our first in-person event since the beginning of the pandemic, and it was truly magical.
We welcomed a smaller group than usual, 11 patients and siblings, 8 Navy SEALs, and 9 Team Leaders and volunteers to Central Rock in Watertown. Masked up and ready to conquer the wall, everyone truly enjoyed uniting and making new memories.
I've been working at One Summit for almost a year now. Saturday was my first chance to see our mission in action through the Climb for Courage Program. Fortunate to step into the role of a Team Leader, the day was something I will never forget. We were all immersed in our little bubble of creating new friendships while building resilience. Even the smallest moment, grabbing onto the rock wall and climbing one step up, was a reason to celebrate.
I witnessed first-hand the impact the little warriors had on their Navy SEAL mentors and vice-versa. A moment that I will never forget was something that happened at the very end of the day. My team, The Fire Megalodon Navy SEALs, sat on the climbing mat waiting for the final ceremony of the day.
One of our youngest little warriors turned to another and asked, "So, do you or your brother have cancer?" The other little warrior responded, and the two continued to talk for a few minutes. This simple exchange had a profound impact on the Navy SEAL mentors in our group and on me. There was no need to talk about it. You could see it on our faces. This is what it's all about – providing a fun experience that will help build resilience and bringing warriors little and big together to learn and support each other.
Our mission's impact is also in the feedback received from families and mentors immediately after the climb. The following testimonials strengthen our commitment to improving outcomes for our resilient little warriors with year-round support.
I hope there are as many as possible other families like us can benefit from this wonderful program. It gives us courage, strength, and love, it is a ray of sunshine. - Parent
It was great to be able to interact with the kids and see them smile while having to overcome a significant challenge. Getting my little warrior from "shy" when we first met to completely extroverted by the end of the day was memorable. – Navy SEAL Mentor
Both our daughters were on "cloud 9!" I think they felt proud of themselves and honored to be part of something so "cool." - Parent
I was a bit worried how Anthony being in a wheelchair would be able to participate in this climbing experience, but thanks to Dianne, Navy Seals and Way Point this was possible. This was one of the best experiences we have had in a very long time. Parent
Thank you to Tufts Children's Hospital, Lucy’s Love Bus, Central Rock Gym, Waypoint Adventure, Black Diamond Networks, and DCU for Kids for helping us deliver this resilience building experience for a special group of little warriors!
Interested in participating in an upcoming Climb for Courage? Apply on our website or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information!