Two foundations teamed up to purchase a rugby wheelchair for Gates Hunsaker! Hunsaker receives dual support from the High Fives Foundation and Challenged Athlete Foundation.

#HighFivesAthlete Gates Hunsaker | Photo Courtesy Hunsaker
The High Fives Foundation and the Challenged Athlete Foundation split the bill on a high-performance rugby wheelchair for 23-year-old Gates Hunsaker. The chair is made by adaptive equipment manufacturer Melrose Concepts and is built for competition. Gates is already a competitive handcyclist and active in other adaptive sports.
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Gates Hunsaker & friends training for handcycle marathons | Photo Courtesy Hunsaker

Hunsaker suffered a spinal cord injury as a result of a snowboarding accident he sustained in April, 2011. He was snowboarding with some friends in Utah when they decided to build a jump over a nearby creek. Even though Hunsaker was a little suspect of the jump, he agreed to be the first of his friends to hit it. He overshot the landing and crashed on the other side of the creek onto his neck and shoulders. He was immediately flown to a local hospital where he was told he had suffered a C5 spinal cord injury resulting in paralysis from the neck down.

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#HighFivesAthlete Gates Hunsaker & Wife Savannah | Photo Courtesy Hunsaker

Since the injury, Hunsaker has focused his goals around adaptive sports. He has been training for handcycle marathons in addition to beginning his career in wheelchair rugby.

Since the High Fives Foundation’s January 2009 inception, the Empowerment program service has assisted 82 athletes from 20 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 2015, the High Fives Foundation set a budget of disbursing $266,000 via board-approved grants through the Empowerment Fund. Since January 2015, 21 High Fives Athletes and two organizations have been awarded 29 board-approved grants totaling  $181,199.

In the month of May the High Fives Foundation disbursed $34,406 in board-approved grants.

April Empowerment Athletes:
Kailyn Forsberg from Eagle, Colo.
Lindsay Runkel from Westport, Conn.
Bond Camp from Breckinridge, Colo.
Danielle Shannon from North Conway, N.H.
Matt Leonard from San Francisco, Calif.
Gates Hunsaker from Bountiful, Utah.
Jeff Andrews from Truckee, Calif.
Jason Giovannoni from Reno, Nev.

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