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By Brad Ludden – Founder of First Descents
“What’s your excuse?” It is a difficult question, especially when you’re asking it of a young adult who has just been diagnosed with cancer. A cancer diagnosis—in the opinion of many—is enough to stop you right there; quit what you’re doing, and surrender your dreams.
In 2001, I came to understand the power of this question and even more, its most fiercely defiant answer. That’s when I founded First Descents—a nonprofit organization that provides life-changing outdoor adventures for young adults impacted by cancer. Even as a professional athlete, the empowerment we find in the outdoors was not wholly apparent to me until I watched 15 young adults with cancer take to the rapids of Colorado’s rivers.
In the years since, thousands of young adults have experienced their own first descent through our organization. They know that freedom comes when we choose to define our boundaries instead of letting them define us.
It was their courage that inspired the tagline Out Living It. Indeed, it is their bravery that continues to encourage a large and ever growing community of people who are determined to live beyond life’s obstacles through their own adventures.
This magazine serves to inspire and document the people, places, organizations, companies, and lifestyle choices that represent our collective desire to meet life head-on with undeniable passion. I hope its pages further inspire you to be Out Living It.
With gratitude and humility,
Brad Ludden | Founder | First Descents
KC Deane | Rock Falls, Havasupai Canyon, AZ | Photographer Grant Gunderson