WESTPORT, CONN. NATIVE RECEIVES CONTINUED SUPPORT FROM TAHOE-BASED HIGH FIVES FOUNDATION FOLLOWING SPINAL CORD INJURY
The High Fives Foundation is awarding 25-year old mountain biker Lindsey Runkel an Empowerment Grant of $995 to be used toward new lightweight wheelchair wheels.
In October 2014, Runkel fractured her T5/6 vertebrae in a mountain-biking accident causing paralysis from the waist down. She was attempting a 15-foot drop on her downhill bike when the accident occurred. Runkel landed slightly forward on her bike and hit a rut in the dirt causing her to be thrown over the handlebars.
Since her injury, Runkel has worked tirelessly on her recovery at Journey Forward with the help of financial grants from the High Fives Foundation. She has made tremendous gains in her recovery, which have ultimately made her time in a chair easier. Through a September 2015 board-approved grant for an adaptive mountain bike, Lindsey is even back to participating in her favorite sport again.
“High Fives is an amazing community that I am truly proud to be a part of,” said Runkel. “I’m not sure where I’d be without their continued support, but I know I wouldn’t be shredding bike trails with my friends again without their help!”
Runkel’s current struggle is navigating the wintery streets of New England on her factory wheelchair wheels and tires. The February board-approved Empowerment Grant for $995 will provide Runkel with specialized wheels and tires from Spinergy so that she can operate her wheelchair more easily.
The High Fives Foundation supports injured mountain action sports athletes through grant funding to be used towards reaching their recovery goals. Since the Foundation’s January 2009 inception, the Empowerment program service has assisted 147 athletes from 27 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 Quarter 1 of 2017 the High Fives Foundation disbursed $119,294.50 in board-approved grants to 20 athletes in 6 states.