At 6 a.m. on Saturday morning, when much of the Flathead Valley will still be asleep, Chance Cooke will hike up Big Mountain on his uphill ski touring setup. By the time he completes his first lap, Cooke will be only one-tenth of the way on a memorable day of skiing and fundraising for DREAM Adaptive Recreation’s third annual Shred-A-Thon.
“DREAM is a great organization and I want to be able to support the organization,” Cooke said. “For over 35 years they have been supporting adaptive athletes in our community and I wanted to be able to support this group of people.”
Cooke hopes to complete 10 laps at DREAM’s third annual Shred-A-Thon, a fundraiser in which participants raise funds in advance and compete during the event to see who can ski the most vertical feet. , uphill or downhill, from 9 a.m. at 16 o’clock
Anyone who meets the minimum fundraising requirement of $100 can participate in the day’s festivities, which include food, drink, music and costumes.
If Cooke hits his goal of 10 laps for the day, he’ll cover 20,651 vertical feet, 341 feet taller than the total height of Denali, North America’s tallest peak.
Cooke had already achieved that lofty goal at the 2021 Shred-A-Thon, while wearing a white Elvis costume.
His motivation to continue climbing Big Mountain comes from his 12-year-old daughter, Kate.
Kate, who suffered a traumatic brain injury when she was three weeks old, actively participates in DREAM adapted recreational activities throughout the year.
She participates in weekly programs in which volunteers and adaptive equipment help her with skiing, mountain biking and water sports.
“DREAM has really changed our lives,” Cooke said. “She doesn’t have to make adaptations like she does in most settings.”
“They focus on the things she can do rather than the things she can’t do,” he added.
Cooke hopes her efforts on Saturday will help support DREAM’s mission and bring those opportunities to more athletes like Kate.
DREAM has set a fundraising goal of $40,000 this year after raising more than $36,000 last year, although DREAM chief executive Julie Tickle said the organization had no only reached $25,000 on Thursday.
“Final push, here we go,” Tickle said.
Just as important as the fundraising itself is the awareness that Shred-A-Thon brings to DREAM’s programs.
“The goal is just to keep raising awareness,” Tickle said. “We want more people to know about the services we provide.”
DREAM serves 300 people with disabilities throughout Northwestern Montana. The organization offers 1,200 lessons and opportunities each year.
In the winter, the nonprofit spends seven days a week at Whitefish Mountain Resort, plus three days a week Nordic skiing. In the summer, DREAM usually organizes activities five days a week.
Each lesson costs Dream about $220 per participant.
DREAM also relies on approximately 150 volunteers each year.
“We always need more volunteers,” Tickle said.
Registration for the DREAM Adaptive season, which runs from spring to fall, opens for participants and volunteers on May 1.
To donate to Shred-A-Thon, go to https://www.dreamadaptive.org/events/shred/.
Journalist Bret Anne Serbin can be reached at 406-758-4459 or email@example.com.