It was 40 years ago this month when a plane with an Uruguayan rugby team aboard crashed into the Andes. In freezing conditions and learning through radio transmissions that rescue was doubtful at best, 16 of the 45 people survived for 72 days thanks to their fitness and, eventually, cannibalism.
One of those survivors was a 22-year-old Nando Parrado, who eventually wrote Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home. Recently Nando attributed his surviving the ordeal to Dr. Ken Cooper, who saved his life because he [Nando] was so well-trained in the Cooper fitness methods.
In addition to Nando bringing his amazing story to the “Illuminating Perspectives” dinner on Tuesday, October 23, at Belo Mansion, Dr. Charles Sterling will be presented with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award by the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition.
Dr. Sterling is the founder of FitnessGram, the program being used to assess the physical fitness of students in more than 67,000 schools in the U.S. It used to be known as the President’s Fitness Test back in the ’60s, but has been updated by the Cooper Institute. In addition to Dr. Sterling receiving the award, the dinner will “celebrate 30+ years of the FitnessGram’s continuous use in encouraging healthy behavior in schoolchildren.”
Benefiting the Cooper Institute, the dinner that will honor Nando’s friends, Margot and Ross Perot, is being chaired by longtime Cooper enthusiasts Pam Denesuk, Barbara Durham and Carol Seay.