(Note: Connor Petty is a new RN at the center. He wrote this article about a longtime friend and their
exciting adventures together.)
As the air gets thin and my feet get heavy, I marvel at the fact that this all started with an idea. All great adventures begin in this fashion, however, very few have the vision to see possibility beyond limitations.
Steven Marrs is 39 years old and has cerebral palsy. He uses a wheelchair to move throughout his space, but it has never limited the spaces of his mind. In his head space he is the captain of the most grand of adventures and journeys. Steven (aka Steve-O) has taken me to places I would have never dreamed of experiencing.
Steve-O and I became friends in 2014 at Camp Barnabas in Purdy, Mo. We were volunteering at a fundraiser half-marathon when Steve-O said, “I’ve always wanted to run a marathon.” His tenacity and vision to disregard his limitations inspired me. I said, “Let’s do it.” And in that moment I didn’t realize how those three words would change my life forever.
After that moment, Steve-O and I ran two full marathons and countless half-marathons over the years. During many of our half-marathons, Steve-O rode his three-wheeled bicycle. During these times we enjoyed long conversations about life, dreams and what we hoped to do in our lives. At one of these races we talked about doing a hiking trip. We’re not ones to take it slow, so we decided to climb a 14,000-foot peak in Colorado.
We were captivated by the idea that Steve-O’s view from a wheelchair can be blocked and climbing to this height would give him an unhindered, 360-degree view of the world. I never dreamed it would change my view, too. As we struggled to collect all the equipment required, assemble our team of guys, and raise funds for the trip, we were constantly confronted by the stunned silence we would get when we told people about the trip. Steve-O was steadily opening peoples’ vision to the possibility of life beyond limitation — the limitations that people place on us or the limitations we place on ourselves.
The hiking dream was five years in the making, but Steve-O never lost hope and kept the vision at hand. And on Aug. 2, 2020, the vision was realized. Using a modified chair from Spokes ‘n’ Motion, Steve-O ascended the 14,014 feet of San Luis Peak in Creede, Colo. And using an unearthly strength, Steve-O held to my back for the last mile and 1,000-foot climb to the summit.
Steve-O reminds us all that we are more than our limitations and failures, that we can all overcome something to experience the best that life has to offer. And when life seems difficult, the air gets thin and each step seems unbearable, hold true to the fact that our dreams and ideas have power to change the world around us. Steve-O has shown me to always dream big, do the impossible and invite a loving community into the journey.
Check out a video about the friends on YouTube: https://youtu.be/3oqrVyFQ2pk