Palmer-area adaptive ski racer Andrew Kurka recieves continued support from the High Fives Foundation
High Fives Foundation to provide with $2,913 to help him continue on his Paralympic path
In 2005, Andrew Kurka of Palmer, Alaska suffered a spinal cord injury while touring with friends on ATV’s. Kurka crashed his ATV resulting in a burst fracture to his T-12 vertebrae, leaving him partially paralyzed from the waist down.
Just two years after Kurka’s injury, he went skiing with his physical therapist and Challenge Alaska in Girdwood. Kurka was immediately hooked, and has since gone on to create an impressive career as a ski racer. He is a current member of the United States Adaptive Alpine Ski Team, and made it to Sochi, Russia for the 2014 Paralympic Games. The High Fives Foundation has provided Kurka with Board-approved grants towards his recovery goals since his injury.
The September 2015 Empowerment grant for $2,913 awarded to 22-year-old Kurka will be used toward the purchase of race skis from Volkl and race bindings from Marker to allow him to continue skiing and competing throughout the 2015/16 season.
Augmenting his impressive winter sports resume, Andrew is also a radio personality for Morris Communications’ 100.9 – Country Legends.
Canadian Adaptive Ski Team legend (and High Fives Athlete) Josh Dueck said, “he’s one of the most beautiful skiers of all time. He’s going to be one of the greats.”
Roy Tuscany, Executive Director of the High Fives Foundation, said, “Kurka has remained one of our highest performing athletes, not to mention of the greatest personalities. We’re happy to support him in all of his pursuits.”
Since the High Fives Foundation’s January 2009 inception, the Empowerment Program Service has assisted 89 athletes from 20 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).
In 2015, the High Fives Foundation set a budget of disbursing $266,000 via board-approved grants through the Empowerment Fund. Since January, the Foundation has disbursed approximately $310,000 to 30 athletes, three organizations and three High Fives Foundation-hosted adaptive sports camps.
In the month of September the High Fives Foundation disbursed $24,261 in Board-approved grants to eight High Fives Athletes.
September Empowerment Athletes:
Lindsay Runkel from Westport, Conn.
Keith Gabel from Salt Lake City, Utah.
Kevin Cheung from San Bruno, Calif.
Nick Fairall from Andover, NH.
Sally Franklin from Denver, Colo.
Andrew Kurka from Homer, Alaska.
Landon McGauley from Quesnel, BC.
Brandon Pitzer from Portland, OR.
About the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation: High Fives Foundation is a Tahoe-based, national 501.c.3 non-profit organization supporting the dreams of mountain action sports athletes by raising injury prevention awareness while providing resources and inspiration to those who suffer life-altering injuries. Formed as a way to “pay-it-forward” by the founder from his own recovery to help injured athletes, the Foundation has helped 89 athletes to date since its inception in 2009, more information visit www.highfivesfoundation.