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Shannon, who has Cerebral Palsy, gets her first taste of skiing in Les Saisies with her sisters

Shannon with her father

"Les Saisies was an amazing resort and we had such a great time. Shannon came up on the mountain for 2 hours every day and our chalet was perfect with picturesque views.
Shannon fell in love with Sebastien her instructor “

Liane Lenahan

This is the story of how 9 year old Shannon, who has cerebral palsy, was given a dream winter holiday by her parents and aunt and uncle.

Ski 2 Freedom was contacted by both Shannon’s mother and also her aunt (Liane) who had set her heart on giving her niece Shannon a magical time in the mountains and to have the chance to ski regardless of her having cerebral palsy. Although we were able to reassure and help with ideas the family were able to make many of the arrangements themselves.

It was difficult to find a large enough chalet that would accommodate this eager and excited group but in the end Liane and Josie found the Gîte de Bisanne. Situated just 6 km from the main village of Les Saisies with access to the Rosiere ski lift and almost ski in / ski out but not quite – although snow shoeing would be totally on the door-step!

"We are all a very close family but are split between the UK and Ireland so we don't get to spend as much time together as we would wish. A few of us have enjoyed skiing and snow-boarding at different times and have always talked about going together. So finally, we decided we would try and make this happen.

My sister and her husband are the most amazing parents, I know we are biased because we love them, but really, they truly are. My sister is Shannon’s carer and stay-at-home mum and my brother in law is self-employed and the breadwinner. It has been hard for them to go away since the girls were born and they got their first break last year together when we went to look after the girls for them. They had a nice time but they were really worried about leaving Shannon. That’s how we came to the conclusion that we should all go away together, so that they get a break and can still be around for the girls.

Shannon my niece is 9 years old and has cerebral palsy, she has a twin Sofia and an older sister Orlana. Shannon is wheelchair dependent, she has a little mobility in her right arm but not much and good use of her left arm. She has good speech and goes to mainstream school.

My sister and brother in law have never let her disability get in the way. She has enjoyed so many experiences such as rock climbing, kickboxing & horse-riding all in a limited way of course and she is part of a dance group which she really enjoys. She has the most beautiful smile and personality and plenty to say, she's a great chin wagger and is great to have a cup of tea with.

When you spend any amount of time with her, you forget about her disability because she is so determined to do whatever she can independently. Her father is a snowboarder and hasn't been to the snow since before they were born. We came across a video of a ‘handiski’ instructor and just thought it would be amazing for Shannon to be able to ski/snowboard with us all, just to feel the freedom and laugh at how rubbish we all are and also to be able to go for a husky dog ride with her sisters as they absolutely adore animals. It would be an amazing family holiday for us all relaxing in the evening having fun time together. Her mum says she hasn't shut up about going since we made the decision earlier this year!

After much hard work we managed to find a wheelchair friendly apartment for all 14 of us that was affordable in a village called Bisanne 1500 in Les Saisies. We booked independently in the end, after many hours of research. My sister decided to fly as the drive was just too far for the girls. They are flying into Geneva and were hoping to get a transfer that could take Shannon.

My husband and I have booked a ‘handiski’ instructor in Les Saisies with the ESI Glisse Passion as the instructor is a gift to Shannon."
Liane Lenahan