Rent an all-terrain chair for free


Rocky Mountain National Park announced on July 27 that the Sam Schneider Legacy Foundation has donated an all-terrain wheelchair to Rocky Mountain Conservancy which will be rented out to guests through the Estes Park Mountain Shop.

Park visitors can now reserve the versatile wheelchair at no cost to use while exploring RMNP.

“Using a rugged three-wheeled, all-terrain wheelchair when exploring the rocky trails and uneven terrain can help broaden experiences for RMNP visitors with disabilities,” Park officials said.

In addition to off-road wheels and levered handles, the chair has push handles on the back for hiking friends to assist, if needed.

Schneider’s family initially reached out to former Conservancy and Park employee Quinn Brett about donating the chair to her. In October 2017, Brett fell over 100 feet while climbing on El Capitan in Yosemite and sustained a T-12 ASIA A spinal cord injury, leaving her paralyzed from the waist down.

Brett and Schneider fought similar battles and shared a similar passion for life and exploring all it has to offer.

Accomplished rock climber Quinn Brett is seen here completing a 24-hour walk/run/movement of your choice around Lake Estes in 2020.
Accomplished rock climber Quinn Brett is seen here completing a 24-hour walk/run/movement of your choice around Lake Estes in 2020.

“I grew up with a cabin and exploring forests and water.  I was very quickly drawn to the freedom and ability to create adventure as opposed to the funneling into organized sports,” Brett said. “I am a bumble bee of energy and have a natural need for movement. I think it is inherent that I was drawn to running, swimming, biking, climbing and just covering as much terrain as possible, as efficiently as possible.”

Brett told Schneider’s family that she would love to see the chair be experienced and valued by as many people as possible and came up with the idea of donating it to the Conservancy to be rented out by Park guests.

“Accessibility is a huge priority in a lot of the trail work we do. The Alluvial Fan is a truly accessible trail but there are a ton of trails in the park and user groups who want to have more backcountry adventures beyond what a traditionally accessible trail provides,” said Executive Director of Rocky Mountain Conservancy, Estee Rivera. “That’s when we started talking to Zach at the Estes Park Mountain Shop about potentially adding this chair to their fleet of rental equipment.”

The recently donated chair is being housed and rented out by Estes Park Mountain Shop at 2050 Big Thompson Avenue and thanks to the generosity of Estes Park resident and KEP Expedition Chief Expeditionary, Brian Keapplinger, additional chairs have also been made available.

“He’s reached out to us to extend his inventory of mobility chairs when people come to us and say, ‘hey, we’d love to use this but it’s already on reservation,’” said Estes Park Mountain Shop’s Zach Zehr. “He’ll donate his units to us so we can keep doing what we’re doing free of charge and extending that service out to people in need.”

According to the foundation’s website, at 19 years old, Sam Schneider was an avid mountain biker who was just kicking off his collegiate career at Fort Lewis College. In late November of 2019, he began having pain in his neck and hip but he thought it was a result of a few very active days of skiing and playing basketball but after several visits to the doctor’s office they decided to X-ray a lump on his arm.

Schneider didn’t think much of it because his primary care doctor had already told him the lump was just from overuse and it didn’t seem to be the source of his pain but it was quickly determined that the lump was cancer and Sam immediately came back home to Colorado and was admitted to Children’s Hospital.

In August of 2020, Schneider was given an ‘all clear’ scan test result but, after a brief break from the battle, his cancer returned in October, and he was told that it could not be cured due to its’ aggressive return and growth.

Sam Schneider was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in late 2019 and passed away on Feb. 21, 2021. In support of Sam's vision, the Sam Schneider Legacy Foundation was created with a mission to raise funds for Ewing sarcoma research, raise awareness for Ewing sarcoma and pediatric cancers, provide education for medical professionals, and tell Sam's story. (Courtesy Photo)
Sam Schneider was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma in late 2019 and passed away on Feb. 21, 2021. In support of Sam’s vision, the Sam Schneider Legacy Foundation was created with a mission to raise funds for Ewing sarcoma research, raise awareness for Ewing sarcoma and pediatric cancers, provide education for medical professionals, and tell Sam’s story. (Courtesy Photo)



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