NASHVILLE (February 8, 2018)—World Champion and Olympic Freestyle skier Jeremy Bloom is used to skiing with some of the world's best skiers, but his most recent skiing partner was equally inspiring. He recently met up with an 88-year-old Brookdale resident who dreamed of skiing one last time. As founder of Wish of a Lifetime, Jeremy spends much of his post-Olympic days granting wishes to deserving seniors like Eleanor "Ellie" Ross.
Ellie never thought she would ski again after breaking her hip and damaging her knees during a ski trip six years ago. Prior to her accident, the Massachusetts woman had been skiing nearly every weekend for more than 50 years. Doctors told her to put away her skis but she wasn't going to give up just like that. She remembered seeing ski teams towing people in sleds and modified skis during her travels.
"Whatever you want to do, make a way to do it," said Ellie. "If you don't, you're going to regret it the rest of your life."
When Ellie heard about Wish of a Lifetime from her caregivers at Brookdale, her eyes lit up as she envisioned herself among the trees once again. Ellie said her only hope was to once again glide a steep slope covered with fresh fallen snow and to feel cold fresh air fill her lungs and caress her cheeks.
Through the use of adaptive skiing, Ellie and Jeremy recently hit the slopes on the same mountain where Jeremy learned to ski as a kid. Ellie's family and friends cheered them on as she and the Olympian shared the excitement of their mutual life's passion.
"Ellie's wish experience shows that people can do anything as they age," said Jeremy. "I want people to know that you don't have to stop wishing, you don't have to stop dreaming, and you don't have to stop pursuing life to the fullest as you get older."
Jeremy says seeing Ellie ski again was very special. It's moments like this that remind him why he founded Wish of a Lifetime. The nonprofit's mission is to shift the way society views and values the oldest generations by fulfilling seniors' dreams and sharing their stories to inspire people of all ages. He teamed up with Brookdale Senior Living in 2010 as a way to reach more seniors. He said the size and scale of Brookdale help him help more dreams come true for seniors.
"Working with Jeremy and Wish of a Lifetime has given our residents incredible opportunities to live life to the fullest," said Sara Terry, senior vice president of resident and family engagement. "This partnership allows residents to fulfill those dreams they may have stored away or thought weren't possible to achieve."
Since the partnership's inception in 2010, more than 900 Brookdale seniors have had their Brookdale Wishes granted. While Brookdale is the founding sponsor of the nonprofit organization, Wish of a Lifetime is open to all seniors across the country. Click here to learn more about how to submit a wish for a deserving senior.