Prescribing Adventure at the 12th Annual First Descents Ball

By: Kristin "Boogie Feathers" Green

This year’s Annual First Descents Ball was a smashing success – 400 attendees, over $900,000 raised, and the launch of our new campaign: Prescribe Adventure. In true Out Living It fashion, guests came from near and far in their most spectacular hats, evening attire, and dancing shoes. This weekend was an opportunity to honor our First Descents family and to fuel our vision to become the world leader in adventure based healing.

From new auction packages & all-inclusive getaways to the much-anticipated release of the new FlyLow x FD Beanie, the 2018 Ball was a weekend-long extravaganza!  Between the Alumni Party, private First Descents yoga classes, FD Happy Hour on the Ritz patio, and our Horizon Line Reception honoring Chad McWhinney, we truly spent the entire weekend Out Living It.

Throughout the night, we heard powerful alumni stories, live music, and exciting announcements from FD Founder, Brad Ludden.  The night got rowdier as guests held onto the edge of their seats during the live auction. This year the auction featured a VIP package to see Hamilton on Broadway and dine with the cast, as well as all inclusive adventure trips to destinations like the Seychelles and Italy. The night culminated with Syndicate Band’s funky jams that got everybody out of their seats and groovin’ on the dance floor.

The featured video during the Ball told the story of Carlos “Toro” Villatoro, a member of our Boston Local Adventure Community who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.  Toro found his True North on a whitewater kayaking adventure with First Descents.  Now, he is out living his diagnosis as a father, husband, and open-water swimmer.

At the core of the FD Ball each year is the opportunity to celebrate our community members who embody the spirit and core values of First Descents.  We had the honor of recognizing two members of the FD family. 2018 Out Living It Award Winner Jennifer “Galaxy Girl” Jackson and Horizon Line Award Winner Chad McWhinney. These badass members of our community are fearless advocates of our mantra, and inspire us to Out Live It everyday.

As both a doctor and as a patient, Galaxy Girl has a unique perspective on the medical system.  In her Out Living It Award speech, she showed her profound understanding of the importance of adventure and community for healing, and she believes in a future where the medical system starts healing more than just her illness. She put it best when she said, “I would love to see every young adult cancer patient get a written prescription for First Descents, because nothing is more healing than Out Living it!”

We launched Prescribe Adventure aimed at reaching young adults earlier in their treatment plans through integrated healthcare partnerships.  Looking ahead, FD is poised to change the survivorship path for young adults impacted by cancer by partnering with medical centers to Prescribe Adventure to all their patients.  Thanks to the support of our sponsors, donors and guests at the 2018 FD Ball, our Prescribe Adventure campaign has launched with huge momentum and stoke.

Special thank you to the Ritz-Carlton, Bachelor Gulch for hosting and sponsoring the Annual First Descents Ball, and thanks to all of our other incredible sponsors, donors and guests who continue to believe in the healing power of adventure!

We hope to see you at the 13th Annual FD Ball on Saturday, March 30, 2019!  Save the date, and join us as we continue to Prescribe Adventure to those who need it most.

And, don’t forget to check out photos from this spectacular night.

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