The High Fives Foundation is awarding 35-year-old Jim Harris an Empowerment Grant of $4,040 to aid in his recovery from a life-altering injury sustained while on photography assignment in Chile in 2014. The Empowerment Grant will allow Harris to receive treatments vital to his recovery.
“Therapy is expensive,” said Harris. “Without the continued funding and support from the High Fives Foundation, I wouldn’t be skiing, biking, hiking, or enjoying any of the activities I love.”
In November 2014, Harris was kite-skiing in preparation to traverse across snow covered Patagonian terrain, when a gust of wind tossed him into the air and back down causing fractures in his T7/8 and C2/3 vertebrae. The accident left Harris paralyzed from the chest down.
Harris’ road to recovery has required thousands of hours of rehabilitation at renowned centers like Craig Hospital and the CR Johnson Healing Center.
Through hard work and dedication, he has successfully regained significant motion in his legs, is currently walking unassisted and participating in the outdoor activities that he has always loved.
The April grant awarded to Harris will provide him with personal training, group training, massage, chiropractic work and yoga so that he can continue on his inspiring recovery path.
“Jim’s determination has what got him where he is now in his recovery,” said Roy Tuscany, Executive Director of the High Fives Foundation. “Jim and other High Fives Athletes have proven to themselves that the time and effort they put in pays off in their recovery.”
While building and riding the slopestyle course at a Freestyle Mountain Biking Tour event in 2012, Lavender suffered a fall that would change his life forever. Digging one of the features, Lavender slipped, and tumbled down the rocky slope. When he finally came to a stop, Lavender wasn’t able to move any of his extremities.
Following a lengthy extraction, Lavender found himself at Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo. where he was told he had suffered a burst fracture of his C4 vertebrae, leaving him quadriplegic from the neck down.
“It was devastating news at first,” said Lavender. “My whole life was flipped around. But I was determined not to let it slow me down.”
Born and raised an athlete, Lavender has not let his injury keep him from spending time in the mountains. In 2016 he went adaptive skiing with Challenge Aspen and immediately fell in love.
In the year following, Lavender has gotten out on the mountain any time his schedule has allowed him.
Lavender was introduced to the High Fives Foundation through other Colorado athletes who received funding from the organization. In September 2016, Lavender applied for a financial grant and was awarded funds to be used toward Galileo vibration dumbbells to build strength at home.
The April 2017 Empowerment Grant received by Lavender will be used toward acupuncture and hyperbaric chamber treatments not covered by insurance. The awarded treatments will pair with his physical exercise to prepare him for next season on the slopes.
“I’m trying to maximize every moment of every day of my recovery,” said Lavender. “The most fundamental benefits from acupuncture and the hyperbaric chamber are faster recovery times from my workouts and the ability to take on more in a shorter time frame.”
On December 23, 2016, Mallory was snowboarding in Keystone’s snowboard park, when she hit an A-frame rail with too much speed, inadvertently launching her onto her back. The instant she hit the ground, Mallory knew she was paralyzed. After a successful extraction, Mallory was taken to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo. where her self-diagnosis was confirmed.
Mallory was instantly thrust into the world of spinal cord injury recovery and would have a long road in front of her.
Growing up in the mountains, Mallory is an outdoor enthusiast and no stranger to conquering goals through hard work and determination. She did not let the prognosis slow her down in the least, and spent countless hours in the gym at Craig Hospital’s PEAK Center.
Through a budding High Fives Foundation and Craig Hospital partnership, Mallory was introduced to the organization.
Mallory was told that her health insurance would only cover 20 hours of outpatient physical therapy. After applying for a grant, in April, Mallory received board-approved funding for additional physical therapy sessions along with electrical stimulation pads so that she can continue her recovery.
“With my insurance company only providing so many hours of outpatient PT, this High Fives grant will enable me to continue to access resources to further my recovery,” said Mallory. “One of my daily routines is utilizing electrical stimulation to help retrain and strengthen muscle groups.”
In August 2011, Requist was rafting the Colorado River with some friends when the crew stopped to jump off some rocks. Requist and friends took turns jumping off a 45-foot cliff, and when it was her turn, things went wrong. Off balance in the air, upon impact, Requist burst fractured her T11 vertebrae, and she laid in the water paralyzed from the waist down.
In the years following her injury, Requist has remained goal oriented. She is an accomplished adaptive cross country skier competing in World Cup events all over the world. She is currently exploring new adaptive avenues. Alpine skiing is her current interest.
The April Empowerment Grant from the High Fives Foundation will allow Requist to receive vital personal training and massage sessions not covered by insurance. These therapy sessions will help Requist work toward achieving her alpine skiing goals.
“I can’t wait to get back to the slopes,” said Requist. “I progressed so much each time I went, I’m really looking forward to getting in a full season next year.”
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 156 athletes from 31 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).