It was a beautiful day in the Canyon. Nichole brought glasses for everyone to watch the eclipse before we all dropped in on our first rappel for the day. The sun was shining, the waterfalls were beautiful, and everyone was excited for this day.
We had a strong team. We laughed and talked and enjoyed but were always very safety concious.
On our 8th Rappel of the day , Nichole took a 50-60 foot fall to the ledge below. We were now half way down a 300 foot waterfall and she was very injured. We sent a beacon for help and then spent the next 3 1/2 hours waiting for rescue, not aware for the first hour if she would survive and not knowing how we would get her out of the canyon. It was obvious that she had significant injuries. Her back was broken, her pelvis was broken, her ankles looked broken, she couldn't breath and had a lot of chest pain... She could not move and so we waited...we held her and we talked to her and then.....
came the sweetest sound we ever heard was a helicopter in the distance. We knew then that she could be air lifted out. After a few minutes, two amazing men dropped down from that chopper. Without pause, without error, and with total professional skills, this volunteer team lifted her out of the canyon. She was then transferred to Airlift northwest in the parking lot and taken to the trauma center for care.
Initially we hoped for survival, then we hoped for recovery from a spinal cord injury and other broken bones. Through it all, Nichole saw nothing but positivity and even beauty in it all. Even while she was in so much pain, she talks about laying there on the ground looking up at the waterfall overhead as mist formed rainbows, she talks about what a gift it is to experience the thought of inevitable death and get the chance to survive and know that feeling, she worries about those of us who were with her and the impact it has had on others, she worries about getting thank you cards out to all the volunteers who helped save her while she is still in a hospital bed.... this is who she is!
Nichole is healing and will eventually be walking, biking, hiking, doing her fancy yoga tricks, and be back at work but first she has a long journey of Rehabilitation. One that will financially take a toll for rehab, therapy, caring for her 15 year old daughter and all that will go into the next few months of recovering. If we could raise money to help ease the financial burden it would take away one worry as she heals.
- Jane Arhart
- Kandie Trenary
- Thomas Wong
- Garett Heitman
Organizer and beneficiary
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