High Fives VP donates to Make-A-Wish | SierraSun.com

High Fives VP donates to Make-A-Wish

In February 2002 an 18-year-old boy named Adam Baillargeon from Saco, Maine was fortunate to overcome a rare form of cancer and was granted a Make-A-Wish trip to ski with Shane McConkey at Squaw Valley USA in Tahoe. Eight years later, Adam reflects on the fact that his wish was the impetus for a spectacular friendship with Shane and a personal building block to a practice of giving back to the community.

If he were to title the story of what has happened to him over the past eight years, heand#8217;d call it and#8220;Full Circle.and#8221;

and#8220;I will never forget the incredible adrenaline surge I felt when I first met my skiing hero in front of the Cable Car at Squaw Valley USA,and#8221; said Adam Baillargeon, now 26, of Truckee, Calif. and#8220;He showed me the ropes as well as introduced me to a venerable and#8216;whoand#8217;s whoand#8217; of pro skiers. Words like surreal and unbelievable donand#8217;t do enough justice to quantify how great it was to ski with Shane.and#8221;

Knowing that group of and#8216;whoand#8217;s whoand#8217; pro skiers helped Adam decide that, when it came time, heand#8217;d like to have a career connected to the winter action sports world.

Shane and Adam stayed in touch through the years and Adam visited him and his family in 2004, before he graduated college. Upon graduation in 2007, Shane and Adam exchanged emails and phone calls, which is how Adam learned of an opening at Squaw Valley USA.

and#8220;Shane was not only instrumental in how he motivated me to continue to get healthy once I was in remission from cancer; he also helped me land a job at Squaw and continued to amaze me with random days shared on the mountain,and#8221; said Adam.

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In March of 2009, Adamand#8217;s 39-year-old mentor, Shane, was in a fatal ski accident at the Dolomite Mountains in Italy. On this one tragic day, Adam lost his hero and a great friend.

and#8220;My life, like so many others would never be the same. I will be forever honored to have known the man.and#8221;

Following this time of devastation felt by Shaneand#8217;s family and the entire ski community, Adam found an outlet to give back to the world in a way that connected to his passion for skiing. In February of 2009, the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation was created to raise money and awareness for athletes who have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action sports community. Adam was on board just six months later.-

and#8220;For all the good fortune I have had in overcoming cancer, it feels great to be able to give back,and#8221; said Adam. and#8220;To say that I am stoked is an understatement!and#8221;

and#8220;Adam is the most positive person in the world, always in a good mood and just a great guy that helps others before himself. He probably learned this trait from his healing process the same way that i did during my recovery. Adam brings to the table; a smile, a high-five, and a positive drive that matches the goals of High Fives. This is why he is the vice president,and#8221; said Roy Tuscany, founder of High Fives.

On Feb. 27, 2010, Baillargeon and the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation together with Biking for a Better World (an Olympic Valley CA based non-profit) held the 2010 Squaw Valley Prom. With more than 500 attendees, it was the best prom to date. Funds raised were split between the two charities with the goal of also donating to the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine in the name of Shane McConkey. A check of $1,500 was presented to Sherry McConkey, wife of the late, great ski superstar Shane McConkey. Sherry agreed that it would be an honor to Shane to donate the funds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

-Tuscany said: and#8220;All nonprofits have a positive mission so it is good to help those who inspire the same way High Fives does.and#8221;

The much-appreciated funds are, right now, being used to help grant a wish for another deserving Maine child diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition.

and#8220;All of us here at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine commend Adam for the work he is doing through the High Fives Foundation,and#8221; said Kate Vickery, Program Director at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine. and#8220;We are thrilled and grateful that he and Shaneand#8217;s family have chosen to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Foundation on behalf of Shane. He would undoubtedly be very proud of this donation and there is no better way to acknowledge and honor Shaneand#8217;s memory than to help change someone elseand#8217;s life. Adamand#8217;s story completely exemplifies what we call the power of a wish!and#8221;

-On average, the Maine chapter grants a wish to a Maine child every five days and each of those wishes costs approximately $6,000. The mission of the Foundation is dependant upon donations from generous people like Adam, Shaneand#8217;s family and others involved in this decision.

-and#8220;With this possibility becoming a reality, I feel relieved and honored to give back to an organization that has changed my life in every conceivable and positive way! From the trip itself and the strength and energy it gave me, to the life-long connections and friendships from it, I am forever grateful,and#8221; said Adam.

-He continued, and#8220;Shaneand#8217;s wife Sherry and his daughter, Ayla McConkey are amazingly strong, wonderful people and it is with this donation that they and I hope more people will not only continue to pursue their dreams as Shane inspired me to do, but that they also feel the hope that wishes bring to hearts across America.and#8221;

Adamand#8217;s parents live in Saco and continue to donate their time to Make-A-Wish as volunteers at events across the state. His mother, Cathy Baillargeon is critical to the success of Sacoand#8217;s Walk for Wishes, which is an upcoming fundraiser held across the state, including Hill Stadium at Thornton Academy on May 27, 2010. The event is open to the public and registration is open at http://www.mainewish.org.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Maine, http://www.mainewish.org

High Fives Non-Profit Foundation, http://www.highfivesfoundation.org

Biking for a Better World, http://www.bikingforabetterworld.org

2010 Squaw Valley Prom, http://www.squawvalleyprom.org

Shane McConkey Foundation, http://shanemcconkey.org