Introducing High Fives Cycle 1 2022 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 off.
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 find ways to become better with the experience and skill created.
High Fives believes that these 8 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.
Cycle 1 2022 Empowerment Grant Recipients
Dani Engmark | Life Changing
$2,500 – Healing Network
Chance Marris | SCI T6
Sand Springs, OK
On March 17th, 2019, Chance went to ride his banshee out at a park called Appalachia Bay in Tulsa, OK.
His wife was ten weeks pregnant. He reached out to her at around noon that day and told her he would be home soon. About 20 minutes later, his life changed forever. He had flipped his four-wheeler on top of himself, crushing his t6-t7. Along with being paralyzed, he also suffered a traumatic brain injury. In October 2019, they welcomed their beautiful baby boy into the world. After recently learning how to adapt to a new lifestyle, he also had to adapt to being a new parent after injury.
Your mindset is everything. Words create worlds
$3,500- Adaptive Equipment
Cyrus Lewis | SCI C5
Colorado Springs, CO
Cyrus was attempting a backflip on skis when he caught his tip, smacking his face into the ground. This crash resulted in a C5 spinal cord injury.
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.
Justin Hirshfield | SCI L1
In 2001 while riding motocross, Justin sustained a compression fracture on his T12 vertebrae and a burst fracture on his L2 vertebrae. The latter caused significant nerve damage and left him partially paralyzed. He had crashed doing something he loved and instantly changed the trajectory of his life.
Initially, he had no feeling or movement from his waist down. The initial prognosis was that he had severed his spinal cord. Grim, to say the least. However, one week after the crash and a surgery fusing four vertebrae, some feeling, and motor control began to return. He was fortunate enough to regain relatively good feeling in his lower extremities and enough strength in his left leg to bear weight. His right leg, however, cannot bear any weight.
Everything will kill you, so choose something fun!
Tanner Jones | Amputation
On June 12th, 2008, Tanner was initially injured in Morrison, Colorado. It was a scorching day, and he on was on his last climb before the hike down to Willys Wings. They were finishing up on the Tree Slab when he peeled off the rock and fell.
He suffered a severe fracture to his right leg and was piggy-backed down to the road. In the years to come, he finished high school and joined the United States Marine Corps. In the Marines, he had several surgeries to correct my leg. After separation from the Marines, he had eight surgeries in 5 years resulting in infection, lack of mobility, and the choice of amputation or fusion. Knowing he could live his life to the fullest after amputation, he decided to walk in and crutch out one last time. His right leg was amputated on January 11th, 2021.
You can’t half ass full send
$2,000 – Healing Network
Peter Park | SCI T4
On 2/21/2004, Peter went snowboarding with a friend in Mountain High, CA, resort while he was on my winter vacation from the University of Santa Barbara. He had been snowboarding for over 14 years at that point. He was in the park and lost balance on one of the jumps. Landing on his back on hardpacked ice. He fractured his T4-5 vertebrae and spinal cord, instantly becoming paralyzed.
Don’t take things too seriously, and have fun.
$8,900– Adaptive Equipment
John Papai | Amputation
Traumatic Arthritis in both knees from US Marine Corps, 2 surgeries on the right knee in 2005, 1st surgery on left caused a staph infection. Every other surgery to get the infection out, caused another type of staph. This resulted in 5 types of staph and MRSA. San Francisco VA finally got rid of the infection.
John came back to Denver VA and they did a knee replacement which had failed within the 1st year because of poor quality. John Ended up having 4 knee replacements all go bad within 6 years, which then resulted in an amputation of his left leg. He had 23 surgeries on my left leg.
One step at a time
Kevin Smith | Amputation
Colorado Springs CO
Kevin grew up in Sunnyvale, California, riding BMX and Dirt Bikes. He was Medically Retired from the Army after 15 years as an Infantry Staff Sergeant. he has been deployed to Kosovo, Iraq (2), and Afghanistan. He was also a Pro Freeride and Downhill Mountain Biker.
In 2003, He fell off a 25’ cliff while Downhill Mountain Biking in South Korea, where he crushed his right ankle and L1/L2 Vertebrae. Over the next several years, his cycle of ankle surgeries and deployments took a toll on his cadaver ankle, resulting in a below-knee amputation in 2013 in Colorado. However, he continued to be active, riding Mountain Bikes and motorcycles. In 2019 while Harley riding in New Mexico, he was hit head-on by another bike resulting in the amputation of his entire left leg and other injuries.
He has continued to be active and rides 2-wheel and 3-wheel Harley’s. he has been married for seven years and has two beautiful stepdaughters (ages: 16, 12). he plays wheelchair basketball weekly with a group of amputee Veterans, which brings another facet to his life.
Everybody deserves a second chance
$5,000 – Adaptive Equipment
These new central Athletes will be welcomed to the High Fives Ohana by previous Athlete and Cycle 1 2022 Grant recipient
Grayson Luther | SCI
Spend a little more time trying to make something of yourself and a little less time trying to impress people.
$2,000 – Adaptive Equipment
Lucas Stacy | SCI
Stuff happens, what am I gonna do, just sit on the couch?
Funding for a Bowhead Reach
Tyler Mckenzie | SCI
Salt Lake City,UT
No one would have crossed the ocean if [they] could have could have gotten off the ship in the storm.
$2,100 – Adaptive Equipment
Megan Wemmer | SCI
The women whom I love and admire for their strength and grace did not get that way because shit worked out. They got that way because shit went wrong, and they handled it. They handled it a thousand different ways on a thousand different days, but they handled it. Those women are my superheroes.
$1,100 – Adaptive Equipment