Jessica Hickingbotham
Jessica Hickingbotham's Fundraiser

Join me in supporting the Achieve Tahoe 2020 Ability Challenge to provide opportunities for children and adults with disabilities!

Please help me reach my goal to support Achieve Tahoe programs.

$14,185 towards $20,000

Achieve Tahoe is a nonprofit that builds health, confidence and independence through recreational sports for children and adults with disabilities. The organization serves over 500 people a year through one-on-one snowsports lessons, waterskiing, paddle sports and more. Achieve Tahoe's highly trained instructors and specialized, adaptive equipment allow the organization to serve just about anyone with any disability. Achieve Tahoe participants and family members often say that their experience with Achieve Tahoe goes on to affect other areas of their life such as gaining confidence to try other sports, becoming more social, and breaking down perceived barriers showing them that they can do things they perhaps never thought they could before.

Our son Jody has skied with Achieve Tahoe (AT) for 7 years. He began "skiing" with AT at 5 years old where he refused to boot up most days and on the occasional day sat outside in the snow, geared up, but wouldn't ski. The AT staff and volunteers showed Jody endless patience and support so that he enjoyed his experience regardless of the activity. Gradually, with the encouragement, creativity and continued patience of the AT staff, Jody got up on skis. They used a long pole, which Jody held onto at the middle, while instructors stood on either side of him holding up pole (and him) and maneuvered him down a ski slope. Jody mostly hung from that pole and with the instructors incredible strength, they were able to get down many hills. This type of skiing was typical for Jody for the first few years of his journey. He eventually developed enough core strength and control where he was able to ski pole-free in a pizza-shaped wedge, with instructors harnessed to Jody (preventing him from losing control). We drove Jody to Alpine Meadows at this time where he would ski in the morning for a few hours, exhausted by lunch. He loved the freedom of skiing but didn't have the strength to ski more than a few hours (with lots of breaks!). J, Jacqueline and I typically skied at Squaw Valley. We never thought Squaw was an option for Jody with the more advanced terrain and crowds. We didn't think he could safely navigate his way on a run. We GREATLY underestimated his abilities.

Today Jody is skiing daily at Squaw... the entire day from 9AM - 3/4PM. He does break for lunch, but typically takes the Squaw Valley Tram or the Funitel to the top of the mountain where he enjoys skiing at High Camp and around Gold Coast lodge for hours at a time. Last season one of his incredible instructors got him to ski the famous "Mountain Run" from the top of the Funitel to the base of Squaw. Thanks to AT our family has achieved what we thought impossible - we are able to all ski together at Squaw Valley. We know that so much more is possible for Jody and most importantly, Jody recognizes his abilities. Most of you know Jody is non-verbal and uses his communication device to share his thoughts and feelings. Recently, Jody typed, "Jody is a champion!" in his talker. Thank you Achieve Tahoe!

Join me in supporting Achieve Tahoe so that other cans have life-changing experiences. Our goal is to make children and adults with disabilities feel like champions.