We don't usually do this sort of thing on our travel blog here, but we feel inspired to share our dear friend Nate Aikele's story with you all.

We met Nate our freshmen year of college at BYU-Idaho back in 2006. He was wearing a Nixon brand belt buckle [hence the nickname] and probably had a Mountain Dew in his hand. We were friends with him throughout our college years and he was always there for us. We played soccer together, skied together, studied in the library together, and ate BBQ chips and cottage cheese together [weird triplet thing]. There is nobody quite like Nate. It's hard to find a place to begin telling you about him, so we'll just dive right in.
Kylie and Lisa with Nate, 2008
Good group of friends Junior year in college
Lisa and Nate on Halloween 2009 
Nate with a broken arm at Megan's wedding, 2009
Nate Aikele works hard, studies hard, and plays hard. He makes goals and accomplishes them. He isn't afraid of jumping off cliffs or intense hill climbs. The thought of getting hurt never stopped him from pushing the limits, and ironically it still hasn't.
Nate was recently in a bike accident. In his last race he was winning and looked over his shoulder to determine his lead before he went off course on a u-turn and crashed into a tree, snapping his spinal cord. If you haven't guessed already, Nate is now paralyzed from the mid-chest down. This is devastating news if you know how active he is, but on the contrary if you really know Nate you know he is going to conquer this and go on to win the next Paralympics. We have no doubts about that!
Lance Armstrong came to visit Nate in the hospital, wow!

We cannot stop thinking about Nate and what he and his family must be going through. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers. Nate was also just weeks away from finishing Podiatry school to become a Doctor, and he is anxious to make that happen! What an inspiration.

Please help us help Nate raise money to reach his recovery goals and offset the medical costs associated with inpatient rehabilitation here! Nate is a positive example to us all and despite this trial he has been given he remains faithful and thankful for his blessings. He is in for a rough road ahead, so here's to days of healing and hope. Love you Nixon Nate!
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