You're Doing it, Abby
A Family's Journey with Maine Adaptive
Picture a skier on top of a snowy peak, where the crisp winter air carries the smell of pine, and the smooth sound of fresh corduroy rolls off each turn.
Fully equipped for adventure, this skier tackles snow-covered trails with passion and confidence. This skier just has a little help from the volunteers through Maine Adaptive.
This skier is Abby.
Abby was diagnosed with cerebral palsy, however that has not stopped her from being a kid. She is curious to try new activities, she has an incredible spirit, and a love for fun. Despite having a positive approach, it is challenging for the Meagher Family, which includes three young kids, to find activities the whole family can participate in.
“When I first heard of Sunday River and the incredible work Maine Adaptive does right on the mountain, I knew we had to get her there,” said Emily, Abby’s mom.
Determined to create enriching experiences for their family, Emily and Matthew's relentless searching finally paid off.
Before Abby’s lessons, Emily wanted to be a part of her daughter’s experience. At the time, Matthew, was the only one in the family to snowboard. To ride alongside Abby, Emily had to learn too—and that’s exactly what she did. Over the next several weeks, Emily and Matthew visited their local mountain every day to build Emily's confidence on the slopes.
Over the past two years, Abby has taken several alpine lessons with Maine Adaptive, a non-profit dedicated to providing year-round education and training for individuals with disabilities.
During their first visit, Abby’s parents snowboarded alongside her while she tried the sit skis. After a little time to get the hang of it, and with the help of her instructors, Abby was smiling from ear to ear – she was hooked.
“After our visit last year and watching Abby fall in love with skiing, we decided it was time to get the whole family involved in all of the fun.”
Looking to be like their big sister, Liam and Koston took lessons with the Sunday River SnowSports School. Liam discovered his passion for skiing, while three-year-old Koston, already displaying impressive skills, embraced the world of snowboarding. Abby, reunited with her beloved instructors, Branden and Amy from Maine Adaptive, and joined in on the family adventure.
On Abby's first day back at Maine Adaptive, she picked right up where she left off. She stepped into her skis and onto her slider. Halfway through the lesson, she switched over to the bi-ski to explore more of the trails.
By day two, Abby could not wait to get in her ski boots and start her day. After a few runs with a little less adaptive equipment than the previous day, her instructors removed it completely, and she skied - all by herself.
“This is the same sweet girl who uses crutches to walk and a wheelchair to roll. Observers couldn't believe their eyes. She really did THAT.”
The family spent the rest of the days skiing and riding around Abby, with constant proud cheers from Liam and Koston exclaiming, “You’re doing it, Abby; you’re doing it!”
And in those moments everything fell into place for the Meagher's.
They became a skiing family.
“To say this trip was life changing for our family, would be an understatement. As a young mom of 3 and of a child who happens to have a disability, it is my absolute dream to give my children the world and to experience life through them. The way we were able to make these core memories, on the mountain, all together at Sunday River with Maine Adaptive, is something I will never forget.”
Sunday River is proud to be a sponsor and the home of Maine Adaptive Sports & Recreation, a free adaptive sports program providing people with disabilities the opportunity to alpine and Nordic ski, snowboard, and snowshoe in the winter and golf, paddle, climb, cycle and play tennis in the summer.
The organization provides over 1,800 free adaptive lessons every winter at Sunday River from early January through March thanks to the help of roughly 400 volunteers.
When she isn’t randomly falling on her skis, you can find her at a local coffee shop or enjoying the outdoors with her dog, Cali.