Friday, January 29, 2010

Beating The Odds

It was 1976 when Randy Knapp and a couple of friends became trapped  by a winter storm on Oregon's Mount Hood. This is a popular winter climb can be deadly, both for the mountaineers and for the rescue teams that come to save them when they get in trouble. During this climb, Knapp and his friends took shelter in a snow cave, where they hunkered down and melted snow to keep from dehydrating. Thirteen days later they crawled out of their snow cave and climbed 500 feet to a ridge where they located a search team.

Fast forward to 1997 when Hurricane Pauline slammed into the coast of Mexico, dumping 16 inches of rain on Acapulco, killing several hundred people and leaving more than 300,000 homeless. Fifteen days later, a 32-year-old fisherman and his brother and niece were rescued. These three people had been stranded at sea during that entire time, surviving on raw fish and a bottle of water.

A few days ago, 17-year-old Darlene Etienne was pulled from the rubble of her collapsed home where she had been entombed for more than two weeks under tons of concrete. In 90-degree weather, no one expected to find her alive after so much time passed. But there she was, suffering with a broken leg and severe dehydration, but alive nonetheless, beating the odds by a getting a little water from a bathroom where she was trapped.

If there's a lesson to be learned from these stories it is to never give up. Find a way to keep going. Look for some way to obtain the little things that will keep you alive — water and shelter being absolutely critical. Use whatever method you can come up with to take care of the most urgent medical problems, even if it means just sticking your finger in a wound to stop the bleeding. Do everything you can to attract the attention of rescuers — make noise, create movement, use flashy or colorful stuff to signal. Keep going and never quit, because you too can beat the odds.

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