When we found out one of our F5 member’s (Tara Vang) younger brother had muscular dystrophy (causing paralysis below the waist), we wanted to do something special for him!..
The goal of F5 Challenge is to promote health and fitness in a faith-enriching environment. We believe our good health allows us to bless others! When we found out one of our F5 member’s (Tara Vang) younger brother had muscular dystrophy (causing paralysis below the waist), we wanted to do something special for him! Her brother, Shue, is 29 and has not been able to hike for over 20 years. Muscular dystrophy is a genetic disease that degenerates the muscles, causing muscle breakdown, eventually affecting and debilitating the entire body. Shue has not only lost complete function of his legs, he is slowly losing strength in his arms as well.
F5 Challenge’s annual event this year was at Zion National Park. We contacted Shue and asked him if he would be up for a grand adventure, getting him to the top of Angels Landing. This iconic hike is considered quite challenging and one that is very difficult for those with a fear of heights! Shue's immediate response was, "I am down for anything. Although I have no knowledge of how I would get up there. I don't have a wheelchair that is really meant for mountains and rustic trails- hah! But if you guys muster up any ideas, I am totally on board! God bless!" That is all we needed to hear to begin to make plans to take Shue to the summit of Angels Landing!
We had no shortage of team members who wanted to help and we welcomed everyone who wanted to join. Early in the morning of September 29, 2019, we arrived in the park with the plan to use Shue's wheelchair to push him as far as we could go on paved trails. With a rope tied to a crossbar under the wheelchair (that many of our team members could hold on to and pull him up the mountain) made the hike smooth sailing and we reached Scout’s Lookout quickly. Once the paved trail ended at Scout's lookout, we placed Shue on a backpack carrier (designed to carry people). The backpack company advertised that the pack could carry as much weight as anyone could carry. True to their word, we were able to carry Shue, who weighs 130 lbs. Most of us are rock climbers, alpinists, and serious hikers. We took every safety precaution needed by using harnesses, ropes, and quick draws to clip into the chains for safety!
Just the day before we took Shue to Angels Landing, we did a test run and took him to the Checkerboard Mesa. This was his first hike in 20 years, and when we stopped at the top, he shed tears of joy. This was a very special moment for all of us! Taking Shue to the top of Angels Landing is one of the most memorable challenges we’ve ever been a part of, and something that all of us will treasure forever. Despite his physical challenges, Shue has the most amazing “can do” attitude, which embodies the core values of F5 Challenge! Not one time did we hear a complaint, doubt, or negative word from Shue. He was such an inspiration to all of us and we could all learn a lot from Shue!