A letter from an Athlete | Sam Summers

LETTERS FROM AN ATHLETE IS A SERIES THAT FOCUSES ON SHOWCASING SOME OF OUR ATHLETES, WHO ARE PROUD TO REPRESENT AND BE SUPPORTED BY HIGH FIVES. IT’S ALSO A CHANCE FOR US TO SHOW OFF HOW APPRECIATIVE THE FOUNDATION IS TO CONTINUE TO SUPPORT THESE INDIVIDUALS AS THEY CHASE DREAMS, COMPLETE GOALS, AND INSPIRE OTHERS.

A Letter From an Athlete

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High Fives is proud to continue to support individuals like Sam Summers. Summers was dealt an unfortunate circumstance but through positive attitude, hard work and strong mental strength she gets through all that life throws her way. 

Sam was struck by a car while riding her road cycle in Boulder, CO causing damage to her spinal cord, causing paralysis.

Although there were darks days Sam chose to be a ray of light and shine through the dark times. Inspiring those around her to be the best possible versions of themselves. 

We are so grateful sam chose to be strong and incredibly proud to call her part of the High Fives Ohana .

A Letter From Sam

The crazy thing about the day I was injured is that the day looked the same as any other. On May 15, 2018, I wanted to take a short road cycle ride after work in Boulder, CO. I was riding down the hill from NCAR when, seemingly in slow motion, I saw a car hesitate before finally taking a left turn in front of me, striking me in the process After the collision, I tried to get up. I suddenly realized that I couldn’t feel or move half of my body.

I was diagnosed as a T7 complete paraplegic. In a split second, it was the end of one life, but the beginning of another. I spent my SCI rehabilitation at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colorado, where I was surrounded by amazing nurses, doctors, staff, and therapists, as well as my parents and boyfriend. I put on a brave face most of the time, but inside I was inconsolable. Initially, I didn’t know anyone my age in a wheelchair. I didn’t know anyone in a wheelchair leading an adventurous, outdoor lifestyle. Even worse, I didn’t think that was even possible. I thought any form of what I considered to be a fulfilling life was over.

The Therapeutic Recreation Department at Craig hospital knew that they could make a good project out of me. They quickly introduced me to new adaptive activities, as well as highly recommending that I apply for funding from the High Fives Foundation. I remember the first time I saw the High Fives Athletes page and read their bios. These people were just like me! They had the same goals of getting back to outdoor adventure, and they were crushing it, constantly pioneering their sports as well as just general go-getters.

A few months after rehab I was still focused on learning what my body could do. I applied to High Fives for funding to allow me to continue training at the PEAK Center at Craig Hospital, where-despite a complete injury-I learned that my body could actually do so much more than I thought it could. But the best part of my new- found connection with High Fives was definitely being part of their community. The friends I’ve made through High Fives continually motivate me and teach me new tricks to living in a wheelchair. They are also just awesome people to hang out with!

Since being a part of High Fives, they have taken me to various adaptive camps in different parts of the country to try new sports. They helped me re-find my love of skiing! They have supported me financially through their Empowerment grant to continue training, as well as get me back on the mountain skiing. They have created a welcoming local community through their High Fives meet-up programs where they constantly encourage any and all to be apart of their Ohana. I owe so much to High Fives for letting me see that life can still be awesome with such a profound injury. I cannot thank YOU enough for making all of this possible through your support for the High Fives community.

Sincerely,

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