Local Paralympian to hike Grand Canyon
Nicole Roundy, a champion Paralympic snowboarder, is joining a group of wounded veterans in an impressive expedition to hike the Grand Canyon rim to rim. Known as Operation Canyon Rising, the hike will take place Sept. 8-12. It is designed to encourage participants to lead a fulfilling, inspired life while overcoming obstacles and challenges they face. This expedition follows the success of the Kilimanjaro Warriors’ hike that was completed in February 2014.
During her prolific young career as a motivational speaker, Roundy has had the opportunity to work with and inspire numerous veterans to help them heal and focus on creating promising futures.
While having her right leg amputated above the knee as a child because of bone cancer makes Nicole’s circumstances different from veterans, she finds they are able to relate to each other. Her desire to hike the Grand Canyon with them stems from her fascination with their heroic stories. She believes they can create a sense of hope for each other as they take on this challenge as a team. Operation Canyon Rising is intended to drive veterans to set goals and face challenges in a positive way while inspiring other veterans to move forward and create a new life.
“The majority of injured veterans I’ve worked with experience a sense of identity loss following their injury,” Nicole Roundy said. “They set out on a mission to change the world and came home in pieces physically and mentally. When joined as a group, these are strong, ambitious men and women who thrive when they are physically challenged. This is something I can relate to as an athlete. When I am unable to train and practice, my life lacks focus and organization. Physical fitness keeps me grounded and gives me the strength and courage to achieve my goals.”
The expedition begins at the Grand Canyon’s North rim, symbolic of how participants’ lives were before injury or illness. The hike continues down into the floor of the canyon to reflect the depths of their realizations of the permanent new realities and monumental recovery. Climbing out of the canyon on the South rim is analogous to rising to meet this life-long challenge, learning to overcome limitations and gaining hope.
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Tosh Martin, a Park City High School junior, was the Miners’ sole selection to the Class 4A UHSAA All-State soccer first team.