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Dylan Christensen

In July, last year, we hosted our first scholarship recipient to Mammoth for some summer time skiing, mountain biking and rock climbing.

18 year old Dylan Christensen was diagnosed with a rare Burkitt non-Hodgkin lymphoma on his first day of his senior year of high school. He went from thinking he had a sinus infection to being diagnosed with stage 2 cancer. He spent one week at a time for several months in a hospital bed, hooked up to infusions. Thankfully the chemotherapy worked and his cancer was eradicated. As soon as his treatment was complete, and he was given the okay to regain his activities, he wanted to be on the mountain skiing. His mother Lori, had seen the launch of our foundation and applied to our scholarship program through our website earlier that year.

After reading through the considerable amount of impactful applications that we received since our launch in October 2022. Chris and I chose Dylan to be the first recipient in hopes that bringing him to Mammoth and out into nature would help him on his recovery, both mentally and physically.

Dylan and his mom arrived on July 25th, 2023 and we quickly got them out on Mammoth Mountain for some groomers the next morning. Energy levels were high and we rode until the chairs stopped, and then picked up our mountain biking gear. A first full day of activities was in the books and Dylan’s permanent smile was evidence of a great day. The next morning the crew was on the snow again, and then headed out for their first ever outdoor multi pitch rock climb. Sierra Mountain Guides, lead the adventure, and Chris and I met them at the top of the climb.

Watching Dylan effortlessly climb the mountain with a calm and steady mind, reminded me how important this time out in the mountains is for our healing. There’s a peace that we gain when we are in this state of presence- and that peace can transform our mind to realize we can all navigate hard things and find ourselves again. Totally present, in tune, growing, learning, and embracing challenges as they present themselves, which we have found to be so impactful as we go through hardships in our life. The realization that climbing mountains can be a metaphor for how we can visualize our battles with cancer or other hardships. Nature teaches us patience and gives us a joy that’s hard to explain but can be felt— and Dylan’s Smile said it all.

As we wrapped up our time with Dylan and Lori, we were filled with gratitude that we were able to share this experience and provide an opportunity for this mom and son to do fun things together and allowed them to build new memories.