New Athletes West 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 West coast 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

Mike Shaw

Mike Shaw | SCI  C4/5 incomplete 

Vernon, BC, Canada 

Known as a renown freeskier, Mike was demonstrating a simple nose butter 720 to the skiers he coached. Landing wrong, his feet came overtop his body like a scorpion, dislocating his C4/5 vertebrate. Initially, Mike was told he may never walk again but has experienced an incredible recovery, defeating many obstacles in his way.

“The high fives grant is going to help me get back into the mountains to ski untouched powder!! I’ve set goals all the way along my road to recovery, and goals like getting back into the mountains help me feel like I’m working towards something bigger than just doing physiotherapy or gym training. It keeps me motivated to work hard, both on and off the mountain. When I get out in deep snow and feel the float of my skis underneath me now, it’s the most freeing feeling.”

High Fives provided $2000 for winter ski equipment 

Connor Smith | SCI L1

Reno, NV 

While off-roading in a Polaris RZR, Connor hit a jump that unfortunately launched him 120 feet far and 30 feet in the air. He landed hard on a flat area, compressing his spinal cord. 

 “Our only limitations are those we set in our mind” 

“This grant will allow me to give my full and undivided attention to betting myself physically and mentally while lifting the burden of worrying about the cost of it [rent]”

High Fives provided $2500 for Travel Expenses

Connor Smith
Pierre Bergman

Pierre Bergman | SCI -T6 Complete

San Diego, CA 


Pierre took a hard fall while mountain biking on the Teton Pass in Jackson, Wyoming. This fall dislocated and broke his T7 vertebrae, resulting in a complete spinal cord injury. 

 “life’s hard, but worth living”

“This grant will allow me to access more terrain, especially outdoors, and keep me working hard towards my ultimate goal of getting back on a snowboard.”

High Fives provided $2600 for Healing network and adaptive equipment 

Jonah Karpman | SCI C4-6 

San Diego, CA

Jonah was at the San Diego Rowing Club boathouse with friends to work out and row. The tide was high, so he thought he would dive in. Unfortunately, Jonah misjudged the depth and hit the bottom, resulting in a fracture of his C6 vertebrae. 

 “make the world your calm” – Frank Reynolds

“This grant is going to help me pay for my car modifications, which will help me obtain a new level of independence”

High Fives provided $2,500 for Adaptive equipment

Jonah Karpman
Christopher Baker

Christopher Baker | TBI

Newberg, OR 

Christopher was riding his bike home from work when he was the victim of a hit-and-run. The specificities of the accident are unknown and the driver has never been caught. This accident lead to a serious TBI and subsequent complications from that injury. 

“Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention to arrive safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: Wow!! What a ride!”

“This grant will allow me to work with rehabilitation specialists who work specifically with TBI survivors. Through cognitive coaching and therapy with a trauma specialist, I hope to improve my quality of life, and in turn, start laying a strong foundation that will allow me to achieve my new life goals!”

High Fives provided $2500 for Travel Expenses

Hayden Low | SCI T4

Provo, UT

Hayden was involved in a skiing accident in Park City, UT. He lost control going down a double black diamond and collided with a tree. The accident left Hayden with a T4 complete spinal cord injury. 


In the middle of every difficulty lies opportunity” ~Albert Einstein


“This  grant will help me purchase the equipment necessary to return to the sports I miss doing so much, like skiing”

High Fives provided $2500 For adaptive equipment 

Hayden Low
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Mike Shaw
Connor Smith
Pierre Bergman
Jonah Karpman
Chris Baker
Hayden Low

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