Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

AROUND TOWN: Paralyzed Olympian Amy Van Dyken knows there's a reason she survived

November 10, 2017 Updated: November 10, 2017 at 1:14 pm
0
photo - Breakfast of Champions reception: Featured speaker Olympian Amy Van Dyken, left, and Peak Vista Community Health Centers president/CEO Pam McManus had a little time to ham it up before the next day's serious fundraising breakfast.
102617 Photo by Linda Navarro
Breakfast of Champions reception: Featured speaker Olympian Amy Van Dyken, left, and Peak Vista Community Health Centers president/CEO Pam McManus had a little time to ham it up before the next day's serious fundraising breakfast. 102617 Photo by Linda Navarro  

Amy Van Dyken knows how lucky she is that she had great insurance.

That was something the delightfully funny, multiple gold-medal-winning, Olympic swimmer didn't have to worry about after she and her ATV went flying off a cliff, leaving her paralyzed. It was so serious, she was told to say her goodbyes to husband Tom Rouen, a former Denver Broncos punter. He told her, "If this is too much, you can let go." The organ donor team was at the ready. Somehow she survived.

At Peak Vista Community Health Center's Oct. 26 Breakfast of Champions, Van Dyken told the 800 guests the funny stuff, starting with struggles she had as a swimmer - like "wanting to kick" the person who invented the butterfly stroke - and even cracked jokes about the challenges she has had attempting to walk at Craig Hospital after her spine was severed.

But she was brought to tears talking about the 90,000 people served by Peak Vista who don't have insurance or whose insurance is inadequate. "This is so important."

She's in a wheelchair, knows all about lack of accessibility and, she said, "Sometimes your day is too much. You close your eyes. But you rock out. I'm here for a reason." She encouraged guests to help those thousands in seven counties who need Peak Vista, and they dug deep, donating more than $225,000.

"Improving the health of our community is possible only through the help of all of you," said Peak Vista head Pam McManus.

The night before the Breakfast of Champions, Van Dyken spent time with sponsors and donors, some longtime friends and several former Olympic teammates at a VIP reception. She waited patiently for everyone who wanted a photo with her and had some lively conversations. And the smile never dimmed.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.