New Athletes Central & East Coast | June 2020 Empowerment Grant

The 2020 June Grant Cycle saw 15 NEW athletes, 13 EXISTING for a total of over $58,700 funded!


Introducing High Fives June 2020 Empowerment Grant recipients

High Fives is very proud to introduce everyone to these new Athletes that we will be supporting through their recovery and onto whatever goals and adventures that they can dream of.

Recovery and progression of one’s mind and body is a never-ending pursuit. These Athletes realize that setting goals and improving themselves is incredibly important. After one goal or adventure is complete you know that that goal is possible and then they find ways to become better with the experience and skill created.

High Fives believes that these new Athletes embody our values and will represent High Fives in amazing ways, and we cannot wait to see what they are able to accomplish

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June 2020 Empowerment Grant Recipients

David Tarro | SCI C5

Ham Lake, MN

After a long day of cycling and hiking along the Mississippi River, David took a near fatal step slipping off a cliff and landing in the shallow waters. This fall resulted in a C5 spinal cord injury. 

“My recovery stops when I stop”

“This grant will help me with affording equipment that will bring me to the far reaches of the wilderness and the city alike” 

High Fives Provided David with $2,500 for adaptive equipment 

David Tarro
Adam Volpe

Adam Volpe | SCI – C6 incomplete

Warwick, NY 

While having an epic day biking in Whistler with friends, Adam was riding down a fairly tame trial which had a steep rock roller and flat bridge runout. Adam went over the top of the roller and his rear tire hit his butt, pushing him over the handlebars, sending him diving headfirst into the bridge, breaking his neck. This resulted in a C6 incomplete spinal cord injury. 

“This grant will help with the rental of the Neubie electrical stimulation machine. I will be able to continue using this machine daily at home with the intent of strengthening my lower extremities, particularly my right side.  I am currently walking but with the gait of a zombie; sort of dragging my right leg along with me.”

High Fives provided Adam with $2,500 for Medical equipment 

Spencer Keene | SCI C5

Louisville, KY

Spencer made an error in judgment on depth and dove into a swimming pool. He sustained a C5 spinal cord injury. He now has limited arm mobility and uses a power wheelchair.

“I may not be there yet, but I’m closer than I was yesterday”

“I plan to use the grant for a stem cycle. Biking was one of my favorite pastimes and stem along with cardio aids in overall health, plus recovery! It will help me purchase adaptive equipment for cardiovascular exercise aiding in health and recovery” 

High Fives Provided Spencer with $2,500 for Healing networks

Spencer Keene
Andrew Bernstein

Andrew “Bernie”  Bernstein | Polytrauma – SCI L2

Boulder, CO

Andrew was an elite-level track racer who competed in events like the Olympic-qualifying trial and USA Cycling Elite National Championships. Then in 2019, while on a training ride, a cargo van hit him from behind and left the scene. 

The hit-and-run threw me into a ditch. I was only semi-conscious but I understood that to get help, I had to get out of that ditch, and I wriggled my way to the top, and was spotted and saved. Now, I have to wriggle out of that ditch every day.”

High Fives Provided Andrew with $2,530 For Healing Networks

Brandon Mantz | SCI – T9

Denver, CO

While skiing in Breckenridge with friends in 2018, Brandon lost control, carried too much speed, and crashed into a tree. Miraculously, the first person to whiteness the accident and come to Brandon’s aid was a surgeon who began immediate medical protocol, likely saved his life. 

“This grant will allow me to get back on the snow; the place where my injury occurred”

High Fives provided Brandon with $2,300 For adaptive Equipment 

Brandon Mantz
Chad Winthrop

Chad Winthrop | SCI L1

Denver, CO

Chad  sustained a burst fracture of my L1 vertebrae on July 3, 2019,while paragliding in Alaska. 

“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill
This grant for driving hand controls will allow me to spare my arthritic wrist while my arms need to help my legs out.



High Fives provided $2,330 for adaptive equipment 

Zack Moore |SCI C4

Lewiston, ID 

Zack was enjoying the river with some friends when his accident occurred. He dove into shallow water from the beach, misjudged the depth, and hit a shallow sandbar. This miscalculation resulted in Zack breaking his neck and sustaining a spinal cord injury.

“Life is a marathon, not a sprint – things are not always going to go your way, but with a positive attitude, anything is possible”

“High Fives has really helped me out while I’m working on building myself back to independence as much as I can while also being very cooperative with helping me get back into more activities”

High Fives provided Zack with $2,467 for Healing networks 

Zack Moore
David Wieselmann

David Wieslemann | SCI C7

Braintree, MA

 David was Mt. Biking with some friends after work in Vermont. When hit some soft dirt that unfortunately threw him over the handlebars on a hill. he did a somersault and went to stand up but he couldn’t. He had suffered a C8 incomplete SCI.
“ This grant will Help me get needed sci specialized therapy”

High Fives provided David with $2,500 For Healing Networks 

Steve Brauneis |SCI-C6/7

Louisville, CO

On February 10th, 2020, Steve had an accident while at Diamond Peak. It was sunny but cold. His my friends were waiting for him half way down a run. when he slowed down to join them, he could not stop. It was icy (bulletproof groomer), and he slid on my back for about 200 yards, then the fall line pulled him into some trees. Breaking his  C6/C7 vertebrae.

High Fives Provided Steve with $2,500 for healing networks 

Steve Brauneis
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David Tarro
Adam Volpe
Spencer Keene
Andrew Bernstein
Brandon Mantz
Chad Winthrop
David Wieselmann
Zack Moore
Steve Brauneis

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