I’m in the midst of writing a feature story on Colorado Adventure for Air Tran’s inflight magazine, covering mountain biking, hiking, and white water kayaking. I just got off the phone with Boulder-based Brad Ludden, a world champion freestyle kayaker who had the chutzpah to kayak down more than 100 rivers that have never been paddled on before. This includes a recent a four-day first descent down a river in Madagascar, where he came very close to losing his best friend in a huge rapid. Now 29, when Brad was 18, he started a charity organization named First Descents that helps empower 18 to 39-year olds who are battling cancer. So far, more than 600 people have done the program which, like Outward Bound, helps folks gain confidence through outdoor adventure like white water kayaking, mountain biking, and rock climbing. The program has succeeded far better than Brad ever imagined, with more than 400 people now on the waiting list. As he mentioned to me, “Mother Nature doesn’t really care if you have cancer or not. We’re all on an even playing field.” All of the adventures are offered for free, thanks to the support of donations by the public at First Descents.