The First Grant Cycle of 2020; Donor dollars giving the gift of recovery.

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As a non-profit, we feel the weight of asking so much of our supporters. But when the end of our quarterly grant cycles roll around, that weight is lifted when we can report exactly how your donations serve our Ohana of High Fives Athletes. 

The January grant cycle sees 42 individuals who received funding through the organization, totaling $126,955. That’s a big deal. It shows how far we have come as a Foundation and the amazing support we have from people all around the world. 

Allow us to get granular with who received contributions:

  • 42 individuals who have suffered from a life-changing injury resulting from an outdoor action sport received a portion of the funds. 
  • Out of those 42, 21 athletes are new to High Fives and 21 are recurring.
  • Also out of the 42 individuals, three are veterans. 

The athletes who received help from this round of funding are from across North America including 21 athletes from the West Coast states of the U.S., 8 from Central states, 11 from the East Coast, and two from Canada. 


Our athletes collectively received 15 pieces of adaptive equipment like wheelchairs, tennis wheelchairs, bikes, and mono-skis. Furthermore, 20 individuals received Healing Network funds like personal training, massage, acupuncture, and laser treatment and lastly, 2 individuals received help paying off insurance costs.

  1.   Maxwell Alquist – $2,850 Tennis Wheelchair
  2.   Max Elles – $3,200 Personal Training, Chinese Medicine Sessions
  3.   James Hustead – $2,500 SCI Fit
  4.   Grayson Luther – $3,000 Personal Training/ Massage
  5.   Alex Uppenkamp – $4,000 NeuroRehab, Challenge Center, LocoMotor Training
  6.   Tyler Wano – $1,500 Adaptive Ski Lessons
  7.   Jordan Anderson – $4,800 Adapt Function Movement Gym, Insurance
  8.   Chris Barkley – $3,550 Turning System, Hand Grip Aids, Golf Club Grips
  9.   Bill Travers – $800 Adaptive Ski Lessons
  10. Rod Alavi – $2,500 SCI Fit
  11. Dennis Kuczynski – $4,000 *partial payment* Recumbent Bike
  12. CJ Revtai – $1,125 Adaptive Ski Lessons
  13. Ryan McLaren – $5,050 Forearm Crutches, Rowe Machine, Personal Training, Massage Therapy, LocoMotor Training
  14. Heather Galeotalanza – $3,200 Sit Ski Frame, Seat, Binding Plate, Poles, Ski
  15. JP Middleton – $5,500 Nissin Monoski
  16. Rio Peterson – $6,500 Adaptive Ski Lessons, NeuAbility Sessions
  17. Mia Gonzalez – $3,750 TiLite Series 3 Wheelchair, FreeWheel Attachment
  18. Elizabeth Ragan – $2,500 Physical Therapy 
  19. Chris Bruha – $750 Adaptive Ski Lessons
  20. Katie Combaluzier – $5,500 Nissin Monoski
  21. Robert Knab – $5,000 *partial payment* Bowhead Corps MTB
  22. Candy Dungan – $3,120 Acupuncture Sessions
  23. Seth McBride – $1,500 Adaptive Lessons and Hotel Stay
  24. Matt Leonard – $2,620 Adaptive Lessons and Hotel Stay
  25. Ajay Shenoy – $3,850 Functional Integrated Therapy, Acupuncture, Adaptive Ski Lessons
  26. Tyler Mckenzie – $880 Neuroworks Therapy
  27. Jason Abraham – $3,000 Wheelchair
  28. Joshua Preece – $2,500 Sessions at Project Walk
  29. Jack Racicot – $1,000 Cognitive Computer Games, Winter Clothing, Outdoor Activities
  30. Edwin Munoz – $1,600 Adaptive Ski Lessons and Hotel Stay
  31. Todd Brownell – $3,000 Massage, Laser, Acupuncture
  32. Dillon McHugh – $3,000 Sessions at Project Walk
  33. Matt Melancon – $1,500 Custom Snowboard Boots, Coaching Fees
  34. Sam Summers – $5,500 Nissin Monoski
  35. Bryan Noonan – $3,185 Insurance, Adaptive Ski Lessons
  36. David Wiener – $2,500 Sessions at Project Walk
  37. Mike Pingatore – $1,500 Adaptive Surf Competition Fees
  38. Thomas Counihan – $1,500 Adaptive Surf Competition Fees
  39. Dan Soller – $2,400 Home Renovations, Gym Membership, Personal Training
  40. Drew McPherson – $4,500 *partial funding* JEETrike Adaptive Bike
  41. Erin Martin – $5,225 Sit Ski, Frame, Bindings, Skis
  42. Kyle Richardson – $1,500 Adaptive Surf Competition Fees 

To these individuals, this money is life-changing. Not only do these funds get them the gear they need to be active again, but it also goes towards building a healthy mindset.

This Empowerment Grant means that I can still pursue high school athletics and enjoy the spirit of competition again. It gives me the confidence and inspiration to reestablish and find new interests on my own and as a member of the HighFives Community. It also gives me a reason to keep fighting, because others are fighting for me.

Maxwell Ahlquist | High Fives Athlete

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High Fives Foundation calls its granting program the Empowerment Fund, and for good reason. The Empowerment Fund has many levels in how it helps those who have suffered from life-changing injuries which are defined as:

  • Spinal Cord Injuries
  • Traumatic Brain Injuries
  • Amputation
  • Other Mobility-Limiting Injuries

Many of our athletes who have suffered from these kinds of injuries are left paralyzed or quadriplegic; some need to learn how to use adaptive equipment and how to live life in a wheelchair. Others need motivation and a community to help them move forward. Others need guidance with pain management, help with over-whelming medical bills, rehabilitation, and so much more. 

The resources and inspiration we provide can be organized into nine funding categories:

  • Living Expenses / Home Modifications
  • Insurance
  • Health/Therapies
  • Travel
  • High Fives Healing Network (Rehabilitation Cost)
  • Adaptive Equipment
  • Winter and Summer Equipment
  • “Stoke” (positive energy, outlook, attitude)
Seth McBride
Seth McBride 2

While the High Fives Foundation focuses on preventing injuries before they happen, particularly with awareness campaigns targeted toward young athletes, we also provide resources, equipment, and hope for when accidents do happen. 

A life-changing injury is a scary event, but there is light at the end of the tunnel. As the safety net of the outdoor sports community, that’s what the High Fives Foundation and all our incredible supporters help provide. 

From the bottom of all of our hearts, the Foundation’s and every single one of our athletes, thank you. Your generosity, kindness, and donations as a supporter do not go unnoticed and are never under-appreciated.

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