The High Fives Foundation – Winter Empowerment program service disburses board approved grants to disabled winter action sports athletes participating in winter adaptive sports or athletes recovering from a life-altering injury. In October, the Foundation’s Board of Directors Grant Selection Committee approved the following grants for six athletes totaling $17,418.58. Four of these athletes have previously been awarded grants through the Winter Empowerment Fund while two new athletes have been welcomed into the High Fives Foundation Family.
To date, the Winter Empowerment Fund has assisted 51 athletes from 17 states in nine respective funding categories which include: living expenses, insurance, travel, health, healing network, adaptive equipment, winter equipment, programs and stoke (positive energy, outlook and attitude).
The following athletes have been awarded grants via the Winter Empowerment Fund in October:
CODY WALKER | SANDY, UT
Growing up with the ski resorts in his backyard, Cody cultivated a love for snowboarding unlike any other. While on a snowboarding trip in Lake Tahoe with his best friends Cody had a snowboarding accident that left him with fractures in his neck, both hips and the inability to move his body on his own. After several weeks Cody regained arm and leg movement and now spends his days working like a machine in rehabilitation. His motivations are his loving wife, his adorable kids (3 and 4 years old) and his new little baby girl.
In 2013, the High Fives Foundation awarded Cody a grant through the Winter Empowerment Fund for physical therapy.
September Winter Empowerment Grant for Cody Walker: $1,300.00 (Healing Network – 26 massage therapy sessions with Shauna Schaizl Massage: $1,300.00)
DANNY TOUMARKINE | TRUCKEE, CA
Danny loves all things outdoors and takes pride in being able to see personal progression in anything. On January 3rd, 2011 he suffered a traumatic brain injury. Four brain surgeries and a medically induced coma forced Danny to be hospitalized for five weeks. Once he was released from the hospital, he switched to recovery mode. Now, it is non-stop physical therapy and training that allows for Danny to return to the sport of snowboarding and take on new challenges. Danny’s story is currently highlighted in the new safety documentary, #HelmetsAreCool via the High Fives Foundation’s B.A.S.I.C.S. program service.
In 2012 and 2013, the High Fives Foundation awarded Danny with a grant through the Winter Empowerment Fund for personal training with Chris Cloyd of Performance Training Center.
September Winter Empowerment Grant for Danny Toumarkine: $3,000.00 (Healing Network – 6 months of personal training with Chris Cloyd of Performance Training Center: $3,000.00)
MICHAEL SCHWARZ | CHESTER, VT
In March 2009, while attending his senior year at University of Vermont, Michael suffered a traumatic brain injury while competing in a snowboarding quarter pipe championship. Michael was in a coma for many weeks, and spent the next year in a rehab hospital recovering in the gym, the pool and on the recumbent bike. Michael has gained back most of his living skills, and his story is currently highlighted in the new safety documentary, #HelmetsAreCool via the High Fives Foundation’s B.A.S.I.C.S. program service.
In 2012, the High Fives Foundation awarded Michael a grant through the Winter Empowerment Fund for (2) Bioness L300 Foot Drop Systems to help him with his walking.
September Winter Empowerment Grant for Michael Schwarz: $1,500.00 (Healing Network – 12 acupuncture sessions with Laura Thomas L.Ac. of Stream of Wellness Center: $1,500.00)
TERRY HOPKINSON | PROVO, UT
In March 2013, Terry suffered a spinal cord injury while skiing. Terry’s spinal cord was nearly severed in the accident, which fractured his C2 and C3 vertebrae. Moving forward, Terry is building a strong relationship with Neuroworx out of Salt Lake City, UT and has recently finished a cycle of rehabilitation with them. He has skied his entire life, plans on getting back to the sport he loves and works hard every minute in order to achieve his goal while learning to walk and use his hands again.
September Winter Empowerment Grant for Terry Hopkinson: $4,562.00 (Healing Network – 54 sessions at Neuroworx Outpatient Physical Therapy Facility: $4,562.00
MAXWELL ELLES | BRIDGEWATER CORNERS, VT
On December 27, 2012 Max hit a hidden water bar while snowboarding at Killington Resort (VT). Immediately, the promising young snowboarder knew his back was broken. He then spent the next 43 days in two hospitals, Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical and Spaulding Rehab Hospital. Moving forward, Max’s goals are to regain as much strength, balance, and mobility as possible.
In 2012, the High Fives Foundation awarded Max a grant through the Winter Empowerment Fund for Personal Training, Massage and Acupuncture.
September Winter Empowerment Grant for Max Elles: $1,856.58 (Healing Network – 6 Neurokenesis Pilates sessions with Alejandra of Body Wellness Hawaii, 2 Neurokenesis Pilates sessions with Diego of Neurokenesis Pilates, 2 Bodywork sessions with Kazuko of Body Wellness Hawaii and air fare to Hawaii: $1,856.58)
MARLON SHEPARD | NORTH YARMOUTH, ME
Marlon was on a junior high school class trip to Italy in 2007 when he fell from a 3rd story balcony of the hotel he was staying at. The 35-foot fall resulted in a complete T4 (vertebrae) Spinal Cord Injury. The 23 year-old skier is currently an intern at the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center (for adaptive skiing and other sports) and has a goal of passing along his skills to others and becoming the best instructor he can be.
September Winter Empowerment Grant for Marlon Shepard: $5,200.00 (Adaptive winter equipment – KGB Lynx Mono Ski: $5,200.00)
Learn more about the entire family of High Fives Athletes at: highfivesfoundation.org/athletes
The High Fives Foundation’s vision is to ultimately become the safety net for the winter action sports community. The Foundation’s B.A.S.I.C.S. Safety & Awareness Program has released its third documentary (in a series of five). “#HelmetsAreCool” focuses on helmet usage and safety while highlighting High Fives Athlete Danny Toumarkine’s recovery from a Traumatic Brain Injury he suffered while snowboarding without a helmet along with three other featured athletes. “#HelmetsAreCool” will be presented to schools, ski and snowboard teams and clubs as well as youth oriented organizations in the Lake Tahoe, Northern California, Utah, Colorado and New England areas in the next six months, reaching an anticipated audience of more than 55,000 people. Watch and share “#HelmetsAreCool” at: https://vimeo.com/77008826