Salt Lake City Adaptive Athlete Keith Gabel receives Empowerment Grant from the High Fives Foundation towards 2018 Paralympic goals

A $4,832 grant will provide Gabel with five specialized adaptive snowboards for competition in snowboarder cross and banked slalom

#HighFivesAthlete Keith Gabel in competition (Photo credit: Keith Gabel's Facebook)
#HighFivesAthlete Keith Gabel in competition (Photo credit: Keith Gabel’s Facebook)

The High Fives Foundation is awarding 31-year-old Keith Gabel a board-approved Empowerment Grant in support of Gabel’s long range goal to continue on the US National Snowboarding Adaptive Team and represent the United States in the 2018 Paralympics in Pyeongchang, Korea. Gabel has World Cup ?and X-Games gold medals in adaptive snowboarding and he hopes to add a Paralympic Gold Medal to his list of accolades (he won Bronze at the 2014 Sochi Games).

Gabel, a resident of Salt Lake City, was involved in an industrial accident in 2005 that resulted in the amputation of his leg below the knee. He has since focused his recovery efforts on competitive snowboarding. This September grant will provide three Apex ProSnowboard Cross Snowboards and two Apex Pro snowboards for Banked Slalom.

Despite his success in adaptive sports, he has his sights set on larger athletic ambitions. He would like to challenge the paradigm by eventually racing against able-bodied athletes.

“This grant will allow me to start competing against able-bodied athletes to show the world what athletes with ‘disabilities’ are actually capable of,” said Gabel.

“Keith is a model High Fives Athlete” said Roy Tuscany, High Fives Foundation Executive Director. “He’s positive. He’s highly motivated. He’s a great human. We’re proud to support him in all of his goals.”

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.org.

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