If you have been in Yellowknife or Whitehorse lately, you've probably heard about my friend Darryl Tait and his sledding accident. I was lucky enough to have the chance to see Darryl recently in Vancouver.
Well before I get ahead of myself let me just say a little something about Darryl. Darryl is one of the nicest, most fun to be around, most amazing guys I've ever met. Most of the time I spent with Darryl was on snowboarding trips. He's a couple of years younger than me, but he's an awesome snowboarder. We competed together in the Arctic Winter Games in Alaska as well as the Canada Games in Whitehorse. It's always fun having Darryl around. He's always positive and stoked on life. He's one of those guys that does well at whatever he puts his mind too. He racked up 4 medals at the last Arctic Winter Games in Yellowknife for snowboarding. The funny thing is, snowboarding isn't Darryl's passion, nope, sledding is.
Darryl rips on snowmobiles (and dirt bikes). He takes huge jumps and does ridiculous tricks. I have a lot of respect for him. Check out his video below and you'll see!
For those who haven't heard the story: Darryl was recently in a snowmobile competition in Boston. He was trying a backflip (which he can do) but came up short. His sled landed on him and severed his spine. He's been through a lot in the past few weeks, recovering from a punctured lunge and undergoing surgery. He is, however, paralyzed from the armpits down. I was devastated when I heard about his accident. I know from experience how tough it is to deal with injuries but this is a whole different story.
Kate Stapleton organized a fund- and support-raiser for Darryl last weekend in Yellowknife. I knew I was heading out to Whistler so I offered to bring things down for Darryl on my way through Vancouver. We made him a giant get well soon card, took an awesome group photo (below) and filmed video of people talking to Darryl. It was a great event. Click here to see more photos from the event. Check out the website http://www.pullthroughdarryl.com/ for more info about him.
I visited Darryl on Tuesday. He is doing really well, better than I expected. He was joking around with us, remembering times we've had together and telling us stories. He was in good spirits despite the amount of pain he's in. Darryl also spoke to me about getting back on the hill once he recovers. He's looking ahead, staying positive and showing mental strength well beyond his years. I'm very proud of Darryl, he is truly amazing. Darryl wanted to thank everyone for their support. It made his night and he is very appreciative.
You should have seen Darryl's face when I gave this photo to him.
Cooking up some burgers to raise funds
Darryl and I, pre-bungee jump on NZ snowboard trip
As for me, I'm doing well. I'm in Whistler now, back in the WVSC house. I just finished my first trampoline session with WVSC here. It was sweet. I'm working on my spins and flips. I'll put up some pictures/video in the near future, so stay tuned for that!