Four High Fives Athletes Awarded Board-Approved Grants in February!

The Foundation proudly announces that four athletes have been awarded board-approved grants in February, 2014 via the Winter Empowerment Fund. Patrick Lonsdale (Ben Lomond, CA), Sophie Coudurier (Reno, NV), Brandon Pitzer (Portland, OR) and Mark Flounlacker (Berlin, MD) have been awarded assistance in their continued recovery from life-altering injuries.

Patrick has East Coast and West Coast ties. He is originally from the Mad River Valley in Vermont, where his parents still reside. On January 28, 2013 Patrick was the first skier on the hill at Squaw Valley. Approaching the ski area’s Siberia chair lift, Patrick went to stop, his feet came out from under him and he slid, hitting his leg on a lift line divider. The crash resulted in a compound tibia / fibula fracture and a severed artery. After over seven months of surgeries and battling to keep his leg, Patrick had his left leg amputated below the knee in August.

Last year Patrick made a promise to his children that he would take them skiing this upcoming season and he plans on keeping that promise. With the two grants provided by the High Fives Foundation for recovery costs an adaptive equipment, Patrick is well on his way to fulfilling that promise.

February Winter Empowerment Grant for Patrick Lonsdale: $9,470.00 (Adaptive Equipment – Leg Socket with Passive Vacuum, Healing Network – massage therapy [30 sessions] and a one year gym membership: $9,470.00)

Sophie was member of the Falcon Ski Competition Team. On December 26, 2012, she was doing her first warm up runs on Bruce at the Mt. Rose Ski Resort in Reno, NV and she was hit by a skier at the bottom of the run towards the traverse. They were both thrown into a pine tree outside the boundary and Sophie sustained a spinal cord injury at the T6 level.

Sophie has attained her short-term goal of living independently within a year after her injury and her long-term goal of recovery will include doing the many activities she loved to do, such as adaptive skiing, wheelchair tennis, kayaking, etc. Sophie wants to continue enjoy life to the fullest, maintain the muscle tone below her injury level and regain as much as function as possible.

February Winter Empowerment Grant for Sophie Coudurier: $5,810.91 (Healing Network – physical therapy sessions at Beyond the Chair, Travel – two flights to San Antonio, TX, lodging and rental car: $5,810.91)

Originally from Portland, OR, Brandon spent a lot of his time in the Mt. Hood area chasing a professional ski dream. In May of this 2013 that came to a halt when Brandon under rotated a double backflip while skiing at Timberline Lodge in Oregon, resulting in compression fractures of his T11 and T12 vertebrae. Initially Brandon had feeling and motor function and it wasn’t until after surgery to repair his spine that Brandon became paralyzed.

Brandon was awarded a grant in December of last year and has seen some real gains from the treatment that the High Fives Foundation has provided funding for. His physical therapist loves working with him and says he has an infectious personality, and is always willing to go the extra mile.

February Winter Empowerment Grant for Brandon Pitzer: $2,142.00 (Healing Network – 18 personal                     training sessions, 12 physical therapy sessions and 12 acupuncture sessions: $2,142.000

In 2011 Mark was hunting when he fell from a tree, breaking T12 and L1 rendering him paralyzed. Mark reached out to the High Fives Foundation nearly 3 years ago through the Real Answers message board on the old High Fives website. Much like any spinal cord injured individual, Mark had many questions, and a lot of them were exercised based. CR Johnson Healing Center Coordinator – Steve Wallace filled him in on what he had done in the hospital and at home and Mark immediately went to work, and it has shown, as Mark has had a tremendous recovery.

Mark wants to make a 100% recovery. Along with making a 100% recovery, Mark wants to return to the active things that he used to love such as surfing and skiing. Last year Mark received a grant for $1,500.00 to ski at Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports, and since then the ski bug has bitten him.

February Winter Empowerment Grant for Mark Flounlacker: $298.00 (Programs – one day lesson at Vermont Adaptive Ski & Sports [including lesson, lift ticket and rental equipment], Travel – two nights lodging at the Sugar Lodge in Warren, VT: $298.00

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