A Letter from Karin
I am writing this letter to recommend the CRIS organization (Community Recreational Initiative Services). I have been participating as a disabled person with CRIS for 3½ years now. I learned about their existence through the MS Society – Kelowna Chapter.
During the time I have been a participant with CRIS I have noticed several things. The CRIS people are always enthusiastic, cheerful, respectful, and caring individuals. Further, when there is a challenge with equipment for a participant, they innovate until a solution is found never considering it a problem but a fun challenge from which to learn something.
Troy Becker who originated the organization, I believe, is to be commended most highly as a visionary humanitarian. He is very wise in his choice of staff and volunteers. As well, the equipment is carefully chosen to provide safe outdoor activities for people with disabilities who are often otherwise housebound.
So far, I have participated in kayaking, biking, and hiking. Last week a dream of mine was fulfilled when the CRIS group took me to the Myra Canyon and hiked some of the trestles and the tunnel with me in the trailrider. This was something I had always wanted to do and had never managed to fit in when I was still able-bodied. We took a lot of pictures and had tons of fun.
Outdoor activities, especially hiking, nature photography, picnics, swimming, camping were my preferred recreational activities when I was an able-bodied, single mother with three children. As such, it has been one of the things I miss most as a disabled person.
Two years ago, I went on an outdoor wilderness adventure to Granby Mountain, with CRIS. I had been planning suicide for months previously and had come to the point where I was ready to do it in spite of antidepressant drugs and counselling. This was going to be my final adventure. This adventure freed me from the suicidal feelings I had where I would surely have taken my own life had it not been for this weekend trip with CRIS. That trip still lives in my mind as a touchstone for when I needed a miracle and it was delivered via the CRIS organization.
It brings tears to my eyes when I think of the wonderful difference CRIS (the organization, the volunteers and staff, and their sponsors) made in my life. MS is a disease that narrows one’s life inexorably with no mercy. CRIS has provided me with joy and laughter, social activity and physical and mental health benefits. It is often the only fun I get for months and gives me strength to carry on, and even encourages me to do my exercises at home, what little I can do.
I wish to express my deepest appreciation for the things the CRIS organization did for me and others in similar and worse situations than I find myself in. They literally saved my life!
Thank you for your attention.