Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Nancy Minton 1947-2009

Nancy Minton passed on from this world on November 28, 2009 and she will be sadly missed.

I remember her from the very first program I coordinated for Universal Access. She came to a rowing demonstration at Elwell in September of 1995. This year, she came out rowing several times, all the way into October despite the cold.

Though her severe MS prevented her from rowing or paddling or cycling herself, Nancy enjoyed these activities nonetheless with support from caregivers and program staff and the use of adaptive equipment.

To witness her coming down to the river to get out on the water time and time again over the years was an inspiration. Knowing she had a degree in Physical Education and was once highly active herself, I can only imagine her frustration at not being more independent with these activities. In the early days, we often attempted adaptations to help her get some motion and use from her limbs, but the disease prevailed and prevented her from gaining much self propulsion. Undaunted, she just kept coming, a testament to her spirit and the importance of being out in the elements and enjoying the great outdoors.

One of my favorite memories of Nancy is canoeing on the Connecticut River a few years back. It was a hot day, not good for those with MS, but Nancy didn't want to miss out on a day on the river. Usually she came out for an hour at a time, so this trip represented a deeper experience she needed. She showed up wearing a funny straw hat with a built-in battery-powered mister attached to the brim, lots of sunscreen, and her ready-to-go attitude. The trip was a long one from Elwell to Easthampton and by the end Nancy was so exhausted she could barely speak, yet she was thrilled at her accomplishment in being present for such an adventure.

Farewell Nancy. Your memory is with us on the river!

You can read another tribute to Nancy at

No comments: