Until this year, I had only seen the Grand Canyon in photos and movies.
Even though I live in Colorado, I had never made the trip to nearby Arizona. This all changed in March when I got a call to help film an adventure, an adventure like I had never been part of before.
The mission was simple, document a group of volunteers, mostly firefighters, who would carry Anthony down to the bottom, and back up.
Anthony is like most young dudes, he likes talking about girls, goofing around with friends and going on adventures. What makes life more difficult though, is that he was diagnosed with Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy at the age of three and has recently lost the ability to walk.
His dream was simple, dip his feet in the cold waters of the Colorado River.
About 30 volunteers took shifts carrying him down in a makeshift carriage. The first day we made it all the way to the bottom, 10 miles down to Phantom Ranch. The hike up was much more difficult and the team broke that into two days.
There were many times while holding the camera that I got choked up at all the emotion around me. His mom, his dad, step mom and brother were all there by his side to witness this monumental event in Anthony’s life.
I didn’t know Anthony nor his family before this journey, but in the three days together, they really adopted me into the group, and I’ll be forever grateful for the experience.
I could write all day about how incredible it was, but the best way to feel the emotion is to watch this short video (below) that was created from my footage. *You may want to have tissues handy, extremely-inspirational-moving-human experience alert.
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Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Author’s Own