FORT WORTH, Texas, Feb. 9, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- A group of 14 teenage amputee patients from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children (TSRHC) heads for the slopes of Colorado this morning for an all-expense paid ski adventure at Winter Park's National Sports Center for the Disabled (NSCD), one of the world's largest outdoor therapeutic recreational facilities. The group will fly on American Airlines for the 34th annual Amputee Ski Trip, which is also supported by the hospital's generous donors.
American Airlines is an official sponsor of the trip and this is the tenth year that it is providing air travel for the teens, TSRHC medical staff and chaperones. A member of American's Abilities Employee Business Resource Group (EBRG), which supports employees with disabilities, will also accompany the teens. The group will depart today from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) for Denver International Airport (DEN), and will return to DFW on Saturday, Feb. 14. You can follow the teens' journey throughout the week with @AmericanAir on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TSRHSkiTrip.
"A primary focus for American Airlines is supporting organizations that matter to our employees and make a difference in our communities, such as Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children," said Cynthia Barnes, American's director – Community Relations. "Through our Kids in Need program, we're proud to provide air transportation for these inspiring young people to experience the excitement of independence, as well as the fun and camaraderie of forming new friendships."
Founded in 1989, the American Airlines Miles for Kids in Need program offers members of the American Airlines AAdvantage® loyalty program the opportunity to donate their unused AAdvantage miles to help provide air travel for children and their families through partnerships with some of the world's foremost entities dedicated to caring for children. The American Airlines Kids in Need program supports numerous organizations, including Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, the Something mAAgic Foundation® and Snowball Express.
Dallas-based Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, one of the nation's leading pediatric centers for the treatment of orthopedic conditions, encourages its patients to challenge themselves during this special ski experience.
"The annual ski trip for adolescents with amputations or missing limbs is an extraordinary experience which is transformational for both the staff and the kids. Many of the patients have not known another person with a missing limb and have been very shy about their difference," said Dr. Tony Herring, TSRHC chief of staff emeritus. "During the trip, being together for six days, hopping to the hot tub, skiing on one ski, dancing and performing in the condo give them a new feeling of freedom and acceptance, which they can carry with them for the rest of their lives. We as staff learn what the real-life challenges are for these individuals, and we come home with a host of new ideas for making their daily lives better."
During their visit to the NSCD, the teenagers will be paired with a volunteer instructor for a week to learn to ski, engaging in such challenges as learning to carry their skis in the snow while wearing their prostheses. The trip allows the teens the opportunity to have fun while fostering a sense of self-confidence, independence and discovery – attributes that can remain with these young adults throughout their lives.
"Skiing is almost incidental to the bigger lessons they learn as they share stories of the day's wipe-outs and triumphs with their fellow skiers, learn that it's okay to take your prosthetic leg off to get into the outdoor Jacuzzi, or simply revel in the fact that they're away from Texas for a week in the snowy Rocky Mountains," said Don Cummings, TSRHC's director of Prosthetics. "The ski trip has the potential to be a life-changing event during which these kids realize they're not alone with their challenges, that they can achieve goals they never thought were possible, and that a missing limb or two is not enough to keep them from doing anything they set their minds to."
American Airlines employees, including the Abilities EBRG, are hosting a special send-off party for the teenagers and their families in Terminal D at DFW Airport. Festivities will include refreshments provided by the Admirals Club® and brief welcoming remarks from representatives of American Airlines and Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children.
To learn more about American's Community Programs, or to donate to American's Miles for Kids in Need program, please visit www.AA.com/kids.
About American Airlines
American Airlines Group (NASDAQ: AAL) is the holding company for American Airlines and US Airways. Together with wholly owned and third-party regional carriers operating as American Eagle and US Airways Express, the airlines operate an average of nearly 6,700 flights per day to 339 destinations in 54 countries from its hubs in Charlotte, Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. The American Airlines AAdvantage and US Airways Dividend Miles programs allow members to earn miles for travel, vacation packages, car rentals, hotel stays and everyday purchases. Members of both programs can redeem miles for tickets as well as upgrades to First Class and Business Class. In addition, AAdvantage members can redeem miles for vacation packages, car rentals, hotel stays and retail products. American is a founding member of the oneworld alliance, whose members and members-elect serve nearly 1,000 destinations with 14,250 daily flights to 150 countries. Connect with American on Twitter @AmericanAir and Facebook.com/AmericanAirlines and follow US Airways on Twitter @USAirways.
About Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children
Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children is one of the nation's leading pediatric centers for the treatment of orthopaedic conditions, certain related neurological disorders and learning disorders, such as dyslexia. Patients receive treatment regardless of the family's ability to pay. For more information, to volunteer or to make a donation, please call (214) 559-5000 or (800) 421-1121 or visit www.tsrhc.org.