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Teen with rare genetic disorder drowns near Moab - Salt Lake Tribune

Despite a rare genetic disorder that confined him to a wheelchair most of the time, 17-year-old Timothy Rau learned to downhill ski on a snowbike, climbed mountains and did the Iditarod with the Make a Wish Foundation.
The Fraser, Colo., teen was rafting on the Colorado River on Saturday when the craft overturned. He was sucked into the rapids and drowned. Rau's death was the fifth drowning fatality in the Moab area this year, a number police said is the highest in more than 20 years.
It also was the second death at the same rapids in less than two months; an Ohio man drowned in the same spot Memorial Day.
"The river is taking its toll this year," said Grand County Chief Deputy Curt Brewer. He attributed the rise in part to the large number of people boating and swimming.
Rau was on a private trip with a group of family and friends, Brewer said. They were traveling on three rafts between the towering red-rock walls of Westwater Canyon. He was riding with his mother, who Brewer said has about 25 years of rafting experience, and a family friend. They hit the class-3 Funnel Falls rapids about 1 p.m.
Something went wrong and the raft overturned, dumping all three into the Colorado. Rau dropped out of sight in the churning water. He was wearing a life jacket, but his illness limited his mobility, Brewer said.
A nearby kayaker saw him get sucked under by a second class-3 rapids, Skull Rapid. He stayed under for about 15 minutes, until two kayakers just beyond the rapids pulled him out of the water and onto another of the rafts.
Someone started CPR and the group paddled out of the remote canyon to the Cisco takeout, about an hour away, and called for help, Brewer said. When paramedics arrived, they couldn't revive him. He was pronounced dead at the scene.
Grand County Sheriff Jim Nyland said that the group was well-prepared and experienced. "It's just an unfortunate situation," he said.
In a December interview for the Denver Children's Hospital newsletter, Timothy said his physical activities helped him overcome ataxia-telangiectasia, the degenerative disease that took his balance and muscle control: "My success stemmed from keeping active," he was quoted in the newsletter.
Rau was a junior at Middle Park High School in Granby, Colo., according to his blog, timothyrau.com.
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dang...just saw this in the news. Sounds like he died living life to the fullest--life is short, so enjoy it the best u can every day. Heartfelt condolences to the family and R.I.P.
 

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Sorry for duplicate, I was posting at about the same time as the other string. Looks like more info is available now. RIP
 

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Hey Phillip,

I new the young man and he really had a passion for life/outdoors. It is a very said day for those who new him and his smile.

My condolences to his family and all those who new him.....
 

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Our group was near the take out as a motor boat came by with a person performing CPR. Such tragedy. We provided relief to the folks providing CPR, and got the 911 call out. FYI, If you scramble to the top of the rock with the star on it you can get some reception with Verizon. Many people worked very hard to save him. His mom was so very brave and kept herself very together all the way to end. My heart breaks for his family and friends. The river was very pushy and unforgiving that day, running 15800-15900.
 

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Damn- the world needs heroes like this kid.

RIP :sad:
He was a Hero who touched alot of people. I always laughed and joked with him about music and Brittney Spears came up alot... His mind was so quick and he never let the AT effect him...

My condolences to his family and those who knew him....
 

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Wow. He died with a disability that most Americans would let confine them to their houses and a life of nothing and yet he was out living life to the fullest. Sorry to see him pass.
 

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I pray for Tim's mom Diana.....an awesome woman who loved her son very much, and did so much for him. Keeping him active and increasing his quality of life as best as she could.
 

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Sounded like a stellar guy. Really a true hero.

It sounds like he lived with so much pain in his life, but I'm sure his memories leading up to this tragic accident were some of the best.

My condolences...
 

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Tim was an inspiration to all of us who knew him. I skied and boated with Tim, Charlie and Diana many times, and was always amazed at the love, devotion, humor,and inner strength they all shared. Our hearts go out to the family and all the people touched by Tim's all to brief, but brilliant time with us.
 

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What an inspirational post!!!!!

What an aweful tragedy, but an inspirational story about his life! He truly lived his life beyond what most of us can even imagine!!

I always ask my self that if anything bad were to happen to me that didn't kill me, but paralyzed me or hurt me badly; would I have the mental strength that someone like that young man had to keep pushing on in life, or would I just give up??? Well most poeple would just give up and I probably would too. That boy definitely was stronger than I will ever be, mentally and physically!! I am touched by just reading this post!!

There's nothing else I can really say that hasn't already been said on here besides I am truly inspired by him and wish I could have met him on the river.

My condolences to his family and friends!! RIP!!!

-Nick
 

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It sounds like this young man was living life to the fullest with the hand he was dealt. Although this is a tragic death, I'm glad to know that there are people overcoming enormous obstacles. My condolences.
 

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Tim was a very special guy. Despite his disability, I can truely say that he lived life to the fullest and he had more passion for life and a more positive attitude than 99% of the people I know with no physical problems. He always had a smile and had a sharp sense of humor beyond his years. :(
 

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what an amazing loss, I admire that his folks were very supportive and close to him, its very apparent he will be missed.. my deepest sympathy goes out to them(his family and friends)..
may his parents somehow find strength to carry foward...
sincerely
 

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RIP Tim
I row WW quite often, I was curious to know what exactly happened to cause the flip on the Funnel Falls, to learn from the accident so others might avoid it. Funnel Falls is a frequent flipper, but each flip has it's story behind it.

Tim sounds like a brave lad to not let the illness hold him back and live the life to the fullest.
 

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Funnel/Skull Rapid combo

A few years ago I was with a private group doing WW in May. Flow was around 8,400 cfs and the water very cold. Since we had done WW so many times without incident, at all levels, we chose not to wear wetsuits. As fate would have it, we flipped in Funnel Falls and everyone had long, scary swims. One guy (who didn't know that Skull was coming up fast) barely made it to the side before Skull. In the shape he was in, he probably would have drowned in the hole. Since then, I always take that stretch of river VERY seriuosly.

Condolences to the family and friends of this brave lad who lived life to the fullest. RIP
 
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