Young adults living with multiple sclerosis (MS) will now be able to experience a variety of outdoor adventures thanks to a new adventure-based healing program created through a partnership between Velocity Global and First Descents.
First Descents offers free trips to young cancer patients to help empower them and give them strength to face their disease. These outdoor adventures, which include kayaking, surfing, and rock climbing, can be life-changing for participants. Now the nonprofit is expanding its program offerings to young MS patients.
The idea to provide an adventure program specifically for young adults with MS came after First Descents was featured on a CNN Heroes episode in 2016. The episode sparked a lot of conversation about which patient groups would benefit most from its programs, and the organization eventually concluded that this type of adventure-based therapy could help MS patients.
To tailor the program to MS patients, First Descents partnered with the National MS Society and Can-do MS. Velocity Global, a global employment solutions provider, is the financial partner of the collaboration, covering the costs associated with the program.
“We are proud to support First Descents and their commitment to helping people heal through adventure and peer support,” Ben Wright, founder and CEO of Velocity Global, said in a press release. “I’ve personally witnessed, as a volunteer, the transformative healing power of adventure through First Descents’ programs and I couldn’t possibly be more passionate about their mission and results.”
Velocity Global first crossed paths with First Descents in 2014, when the two Colorado-based organizations had office space in close proximity in Denver. Since then, they have frequently collaborated on different projects.
“Velocity Global has made philanthropy and giving back to the community a high priority as it continues to grow,” said Ray Shedd, director of development and marketing at First Descents. “This is something very commendable for such a young and rapidly-growing company. We’re elated to see this program take off, and how it will impact young adults coping with MS going forward.”
Rob Wellner, Velocity Global’s director of sales, was diagnosed with MS himself nine years ago. It turned his life upside down, he says.
“Thankfully, medical treatments for MS are available, but psychosocial opportunities are limited. The First Descents MS adventure program will be a positive, life-changing experience for these young adults. I’m grateful to be part of a company that is so passionate about giving back to the community,” he said.
First Descents’ goal is to become a global leader in adventure-based healing, according to founder Brad Ludden. Since 2001, it has provided these outdoor adventures to many young cancer patients, thanks to partnerships with companies and medical centers across the U.S.
For more information about First Descents’ programs for young adults with cancer and now MS, check out this video: