Kellisa was born 15 weeks premature. Diagnosed with significant hydrocephalus in the womb, doctors gave Kellisa no chance of survival. This micro-preemie (weighing only 2 pounds and 1 ounce) with a warrior spirit fought to survive. Kellisa endured 2 surgeries during her 113 day stay in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at RUSH Medical Center in Chicago, IL.
In the following years, Kellisa has been diagnosed with cerebral palsy, epilepsy, developmental delays, acid reflux, sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome. Kellisa has endured an additional 20 surgeries and countless visits to doctors and therapists.
Despite Kellisa's medical challenges, she has developed a passion for travel and adventure. Kellisa enjoys hiking, backpacking, kayaking, off-road driving, riding trains, gondolas and ski lifts. When Kellisa isn't outside, she can usually be found dancing along to her favorite music. Kellisa takes dance classes and has appeared in many recitals.
Chris enjoyed an active lifestyle of hiking, camping, kayaking and mountain biking before Kellisa was born. He thought those day were over when Kellisa was born and the reality of her medical condition set in. When Kellisa stabilized a little as a toddler, Chris felt it was time to venture outside again- solo.
Chris went on a few adventures and had a great time recharging his batteries. However, someone was missing and the guilt increased to the point where he only had one option- find a way to include Kellisa.
What started out with short local hikes with Kellisa in a store bought jog stroller has grown into adventures all across North America in a customized off-road jog stroller.
Chris has defined what he does with Kellisa (pushing Kellisa in an adaptive push chair as he hikes) as pushiking. Together, Kellisa has gone many places that people in wheelchairs have never gone before. Chris is always looking for a new adventure to share with Kellisa.
Chris is a 3-time finisher of the Bataan Memorial Death March held every March at White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico. It's Chris' goal to finish the 2014 march with Kellisa, which would be another first.
Laurel is the newest member of the Hurrikain family. She got her first outdoor adventure experience when she traveled to Death Valley National Park when she was just 17 months old. Laurel enjoyed driving on the rough desert roads, hiking (in a carrier on her father's back) and some short hikes on her own.
Since that first trip, Laurel has enjoyed many other trips and is showing the same passion for travel and adventure as Chris and Kellisa.
The level of adventure has been increasing as Laurel grows, matures and builds endurance. Laurel is getting to the point where she wants to have some input on what she wants to see and do. At the top of her list- swim with polar bears!
Laurel can often be found in the living room singing and dancing to her favorite music (Alicia Keys and Black Eyed Peas). Laurel also spends a lot of time creating art.