(Truckee, California, November 3, 2016) — California’s High Fives Foundation is awarding Roslindale resident Meredith Koch an Empowerment Grant for high-performance adaptive ski gear and lessons to allow her to return to skiing this winter. Koch is in the recovery process from a life-altering injury she received in 2015.
The day before Koch’s 25th birthday she was helping friends move an upright piano out of the back of a pick-up truck. As it was coming out of the truck, it tipped over and landed on her back. The impact fractured Meredith’s sternum and shattered her L1 vertebrae. After an 8-hour surgery to put her spine back together again, she woke up in the surgical ICU paralyzed from the waist down.
Koch is currently walking with crutches, and she continues to spend multiple hours/day working on her recovery. She now wants to start taking her physical therapy out into nature.
“Meredith’s goal is to push her body to be the strongest and the most functional it can be despite the paralysis,” said Roy Tuscany, executive director of the High Fives Foundation.
“Since the age of three I have loved skiing,” said Koch. “Last season it was hard for me to be paralyzed, looking at my skis every day and not knowing if I would ever make it back onto them.” She had the opportunity to try some adaptive skiing lessons last year at Steamboat Springs, Colorado, learning how to ski standing up but with the support of specialized arm braces that have skis on them. This is known as four-tracking.
In addition to necessary equipment, this grant will allow her to ski six full days at Vermont Adaptive based in Sugarbush, Vermont.