Brad Ludden began competing in international kayaking competitions at the age of 12, the same year his aunt was diagnosed with cancer. She inspired him to volunteer, teaching kayaking to pediatric oncology patients, and his experience grew into First Descents, a free outdoor adventure camp for young cancer fighters and survivors.
Whether surfing, hiking, rock climbing or camping, participants in First Descents have the opportunity to build self-confidence, conquer challenges, and connect with other survivors and fighters their own age. The program is centered around the thrill of the experience, in hopes of allowing healing to occur naturally.
Ludden, who was named Cosmopolitan Magazine’s “Hottest Bachelor in America” in 2008, still kayaks professionally, and encourages other athletes to join him and Team First Descents in organizing and fundraising for the program.
Perpetuated by Ludden’s mentality of getting 'Out Living It,' Team First Descents, the organization’s fundraising platform, mobilizes athletes to compete in hundreds of events around the world and fundraise for First Descents through their training and competition. The team has 'Core Events' such as the New York City Marathon and Leadville 100 MTB Race, but athletes are also encouraged to choose individual events, recruit their own networks, and fundraise for First Descents around their own passions and goals.
Team First Descents is always looking for more athletes,” Ludden says. “Because athletes can do individual events with their own entries, the sky is the limit! Get #OutLivingIt for First Descents participants while pursuing of your own passions, and inspire your friends and family to do the same.”
Check out the Team First Descents Core Events happening across the country this year.
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