Three Colorado #HighFivesAthletes receive grant funding in June from the High Fives Foundation
Megan Wemmer, Soren Lindholm and Craig DeMartino receive board-approved Empowerment Grants totaling $14,405.94! Learn more about each athlete below. Through June 2017, the High Fives Foundation has disbursed $314,619.48 in board-approved grants to 64 athletes in 16 states.
The High Fives Foundation is awarding Colorado resident Megan Wemmer a board-approved Empowerment Grant totaling $2,865 to aid in her recovery from a life-altering injury sustained in a ski accident.
While on a backcountry ski tour in the Arapahoe National Forrest with her boyfriend in February 2015, Megan Wemmer was searching for her glasses in the hut in which they were staying. Wemmer went to climb up to the second floor when the ladder gave out, causing her to fall directly on her back from 12 feet in the air. The impact left her unable to move her lower extremities.
Her boyfriend immediately hiked out of the wilderness and sent a rescue team to extract Wemmer from the hut. When she arrived at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., she was told she had suffered a burst fracture at her L1 vertebrae and a dislocation of her T12 vertebrae, leaving her completely paralyzed from the waist down.
Since her injury, she’s been working very hard to condition her upper body so that she can remain as active as she was prior to her injury.
“I have made a lot of progress in outpatient rehabilitation at the PEAK Center at Craig Hospital.” said Wemmer. “I have made significant improvements in strength, balance, and coordination since working there, and my wheelchair is becoming a thing of the past.”
The June Empowerment Grant for $2,865 will be used toward continued therapy at the PEAK Center along with massage from Mohini Integrative Therapies.
At the Free Heel Life Cup finals (a telemark skiing big mountain competition) Lindholm chose a difficult line, featuring a double cliff air near the bottom. His run was going well until he came to the double cliff. Lindholm went off the first cliff, a little too fast and a little back. He missed the landing, which was the takeoff to the second cliff and bounced on his butt off the rocks and slid down.
After a ski patrol extraction, Lindolm arrived at Craig Hospital where he was told he had suffered a burst fracture of his L1 vertebra.
He was paralyzed from the waist down, and instantly thrust into the world of spinal cord injury recovery.
“I was fortunate to meet Soren at Craig Hospital in February, as he has such an amazing attitude,” said Steve Wallace, Program Services Manager at the High Fives Foundation. “He always has a smile on his face and has the mentality of an athlete. There’s no doubt in my mind that through hard work he will put this setback in the rearview mirror before he knows it.”
The June board-approved Empowerment Grant for $10,00.94 will provide Lindholm with personal training at The Ripple Effect, acupuncture and massage in Carbondale, Colo. The grant will also cover a hotel stay and therapies at the CR Johnson Healing Center in Truckee, Calif., and a stretching table from Armedica.
The High Fives Foundation is awarding Loveland, Colo. resident Craig DeMartino a board-approved Empowerment Grant totaling $640 to help him achieve a monumental rock climbing goal.
DeMartino was climbing in Colo. when he was accidentally dropped 100 feet down the rock climb he was leading. He hit the ground and burst fractured both his feet and ankles, burst his L2 vertebrae, fractured a number of ribs, punctured a lung, and compressed his neck at his C5 vertebrae. DeMartino spent three months in the hospital where they fused his Lumbar from L1-4, his neck at C5/6 and then sent him home.
A year after the accident, DeMartino was still unable to rock climb, which was his greatest passion prior to the incident. After battling complications with his leg, he made the hard decision to amputate, and was subsequently climbing four months after the amputation.
DeMartino’s goal-setting attitude didn’t leave him following the amputation. He plans to get himself in the best physical condition he can so that he can face the mountain that cost his leg, and this time, make it to the top.
“I can begin medical interventions to help my body heal and begin training again for my climbing goals,” said DeMartino. “I plan to train extremely hard and then return to Wyoming and climb a route there I failed on.”
The June grant awarded to DeMartino will provide him with three months of chiropractic work and massage therapy to pair with a three-month membership at a local climbing gym. This grant will allow DeMartino to focus solely on training so that he can accomplish his goal of climbing the rock face that took his leg.
“High Fives allows me as an athlete to rebuild my body the best I can to go out and live my life every day,” boasted DeMartino.