Matt Leonard, Jeff Andrews & Jason Giovannoni receive a total of $9,973 in Empowerment Grant funding

A $4,235 Empowerment Grant will provide Bay Area resident Matt Leonard with personal training and specialized equipment to aid in his recovery

 The High Fives Foundation is awarding 27-year-old Matt Leonard an Empowerment Grant to help aid in his recovery from a life-altering injury he sustained at Alpine Meadows in Lake Tahoe, Calif. this winter. Leonard was doing a warm up run under the Summit Chair at the resort. It was his second run down on the same trail, when his ski edge caught the snow wrongly, sending him into an ice mogul. In the crash, one of his skis came off, sending him into the ninth tower pole of the Summit Chair. He was airlifted to Renown Medical Center, in Reno, Nev., where Leonard found that he had compressed his spine 90%, shattered his T5/T6 vertebra, and had a 45-degree kink in his spine, leaving him paralyzed from the chest down.

After multiple surgeries in Reno, Matt transfered to Craig Hospital in Englewood, Colo. for intensive inpatient rehabilitation. Now, with this May Empowerment Grant from the High Fives Foundation, Leonard is continuing his rehabilitation at the PEAK Center, an adaptive health and wellness center in association with Craig Hospital. In addition to having access to the most advanced technology for athletes with neurologic disabilities, Leonard will work with a personal trainer weekly

The May Empowerment Grant also purchased Leonard a multichair that will allow for easy maneuvering, adapted for every day life from a wheelchair

Upon completion of this training, Leonard will return to San Francisco to continue his job and reconnect with friends.

Roy Tuscany, Executive Director of the High Fives Foundation, said, “Matt has an amazing spirit and support system. He will put this injury behind him with grace and accomplish anything he puts his mind to.”

$2,505 Empowerment Grant will provide Andrews with massage therapy, acupuncture and adaptive equipment to aid in his recovery

The High Fives Foundation is awarding 25-year-old Jeff Andrews an Empowerment Grant to help aid in his recovery from a life-altering injury. Andrews was snowboarding at Sugarbowl Resort in Norden, Calif. on March 15, 2014 when he overshot a jump and crashed, causing a C6 burst fracture with associated spinal cord injury and transverse process fractures at L1,L2, L3, resulting in quadriplegia at the C5-C7 level.

Thanks to continued support from the High Fives Foundation, Andrews and his trainer Jack Powell are in the CR Johnson Healing Center in Truckee, Calif. for four hours a day, six days a week. He has experienced amazing results and gains from his dedication to his recovery process and all of the treatments and offerings at the Healing Center.

This May Empowerment Grant will provide Andrews with sessions of massage therapy and acupuncture. It will also give Andrews general purpose gripping aids allowing him to manually push his wheelchair more efficiently.

“It is impressive to see his hard work,” said Roy Tuscany, High Fives Foundation Executive Director. “The team of Jack and Jeff is incredible. They are both working together to get Jeff stronger and stronger.

$3,233 Empowerment Grant will provide Jason Giovannoni with massage, acupuncture, personal training and Neuro Kinetic Pilates at the CR Johnson Healing Center

The High Fives Foundation is awarding 38-year-old Jason Giovannoni an Empowerment Grant to help aid in his recovery from a life-altering injury. In January 2014, Reno resident Giovannoni was training for the Tough Mudder, and while doing pull-ups he fell on his neck, causing him to lose motor skills in his extremities. Upon arriving at Renown Medical Center, Jason found that he had fractured his C4/5 vertebrae rendering him quadriplegic.

Since the injury, Giovannoni has focused intensely on his recovery. He has been working with healers at the CR Johnson Healing Center in Truckee, Calif. since February 2015 and seeing great results. This grant will augment the amount of therapy he is receiving by providing him with massage, acupuncture, personal training and Neuro Kinetic Pilates.

“High Fives can help me reach my goal by assisting with out of pocket expenses for these therapies,” said Giovannoni. “My recovery goal is to ultimately walk again. I want to be physically active with my children the way I was prior to my accident.”

“Jason had a very bad injury and has always kept a smile on his face throughout his recovery,” said Roy Tuscany, High Fives Foundation Executive Director.

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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