Colorado residents receive support from the Tahoe-based High Fives Foundation following life-altering injury

The High Fives Foundation is awarding Colorado residents Megan Wemmer, Jim Harris and Nathanial White board-approved Empowerment Grants totaling $7,985 to aid in their respective recoveries.

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 January Empowerment Grant for $2,865 will be used toward continued therapy at the PEAK Center along with massage from Mohini Integrative Therapies.


Carbondale, Colo. native, Jim Harris suffered a life-altering injury in a November, 2014 ski touring accident in South America. The accident caused fractures to his T7/8 and C2/3 vertebrae, leaving Harris paralyzed from the chest down.

Through hard work in acute rehabilitation at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo., therapy at a number of Carbondale, Colo. facilities and training at the CR Johnson Healing Center, a program service of the High Fives Foundation located in Truckee, Calif., Jim is walking and participating in many of the outdoor activities that he loves.

“Through social media it is easy to follow what people are doing on a daily basis,” says Steve Wallace, Program Services Manager of the High Fives Foundation. “Signing on to Facebook and seeing Jim shred on skis and his mountain bike is absolutely inspiring, and it has helped push me in my adaptive recreational pursuits.”

In June 2016, Nate White was kayaking on Daisy Creek outside of Crested Butte, Colo., over three hours away from his home in Carbondale, Colo. The water level at the creek was exceptionally low, and upon dropping off a small rock on the run, White landed on a submerged rock, causing him to lose motion and feeling in his lower extremities.

White was extracted and flown directly to Swedish Medical Center in Denver, Colo. where he was told that he has suffered a spinal cord injury at his L2 vertebrae.

White’s recovery goals are to get back to kayaking, mountain biking and snow skiing. The January Empowerment Grant for $4,830 will be used toward physical therapy, personal training, massage and acupuncture, ultimately helping White work toward his goals.

The High Fives Foundation supports injured mountain sports athletes through grant funding to be used towards reaching their recovery goals. Since the High Fives Foundation’s January 2009 inception, the Empowerment program service has assisted 146 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 January 2017 the High Fives Foundation disbursed $33,002.50 in board-approved grants to 10 athletes in 5 states.


About the High Fives Foundation: The High Fives Foundation is a Tahoe-based, national 501.c.3 non-profit organization. The High Fives Foundation supports 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 146 athletes to date since its inception in 2009. For more information visit www.highfivesfoundation.org

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