Group promotes the outdoors for disabled | SierraSun.com

Group promotes the outdoors for disabled

Julie Brown
Sierra Sun
Courtesy photo/Sierra SunCandace Cable, right, leads another cross-country skier in an outing last winter with Turning Point Tahoe, a networking organization for people with disabilities. Adaptive equipment opens up outdoor recreational opportunities for people who are paralyzed or have other disabilities.
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As it is with many Tahoe-area residents, Truckee resident Candace Cable says pursuing the region’s unlimited outdoor recreational opportunities has been the driving force in her life.

“It’s the air that I breathe,” she said. “Being able to be outdoors and being able to spend time with other people and enjoy it.”

An avid skier, fisher, hiker and camper, Cable is also paralyzed from the belly button down. A South Shore car accident in 1975 left her in a wheelchair since she was 21.

But for Cable, living a life on wheels proved to open doors rather than close them.

And that’s why Cable is heading up a Tahoe Truckee networking organization with co-director Todd Wolfe for people with disabilities.

“I wanted to be able to share with people and give people all of the things that I got from being out in nature, being physically active,” said Cable, who has been active in such adaptive sports as wheelchair basketball, tennis and road racing since college.

Turning Point Tahoe, founded just over a year ago as local chapter of the national nonprofit, seeks to funnel people with any and all types of disabilities toward local opportunities. Wolfe and Cable are working with existing programs to steer people toward such resources as the adaptive skiing program sponsored by Disabled Sports USA.

“That’s our idea of being able to share what we have within our community here,” Cable said.

And where programs do not currently exist, Turning Point plans to fill in the gaps with fishing outings, cross-country skiing, snowmobiling, hiking, hunting and boat camping in Emerald Bay for people in wheelchairs or with disabilities.

“Because no matter how disabled you are, you can usually fish and it’s a great way to get people out and about,” said Wolfe, who was left paralyzed from a motocross race crash two years ago.

“We’re definitely active,” Wolfe said. “It’s just different activity. You just kind of have to reinvent the wheel for what you do.”

All of Turning Point’s activities are available at no cost to participants. But it’s Wolfe and Cable who are fronting the bill. The group is currently pursuing other funding sources, including grants.

Beyond recreational activities, Turning Point is also an outreach organization. The group just completed a sensitivity training for the City of Reno’s Parks and Recreation department. They also created a curriculum called “Disability to Possibility” for seventh-grade students.

“The most basic thing is to treat people the way you want to be treated,” Wolfe said. “Ask people what they need. Ask if they need help.”

Wolfe and Cable are also there to give support to people with recent injuries.

“You know how it is when something happens,” Cable said. “And someone comes in and says, ‘Hey, you’re not alone.’ [It’s makes a] big difference.”

Turning Point Tahoe is one chapter from a national organization that was founded in the late seventies in Texas.