Marcus Reddish & Danielle Watson received grant funding to help them achieve their winter action-sports goals

The High Fives Foundation’s Winter Empowerment program service disburses board-approved grants to winter action sports athletes who are recovering from a life-altering injury. In September, the Foundation’s Board of Directors Grant Selection Committee approved two grants for Winter Empowerment Athlete Danielle Watson & Marcus Reddish totaling $7,803.

About Danielle Watson

The September 2014 grant for $1,163.69 awarded to Watson will be used for travel, lessons and program fees at the Outdoors for All adaptive ski camp at Crystal Mountain in Enumclaw, Wash. Septembers grant marks the second board-approved grant that Watson has received since becoming a High Fives Athlete in September of last year.

Photo Courtesy | High Fives Foundation
Photo Courtesy | High Fives Foundation

Watson suffered a life-altering injury in June 2011 when she fell 300 feet while rock climbing outside of Bend, Ore. The fall resulted in a broken femur, pelvis, ankles and her L-1 and T-6 vertebra leaving Watson paralyzed from the chest down.

Since her 2011 injury, Watson has remained goal oriented with a positive attitude. Growing up in the beautiful Pacific Northwest, she has taken advantage of nature her entire life. Watson’s current goal is to grow her skills as an adaptive mono-skier, and continue to enjoy the mountains. Her goals reach beyond sports as well. Watson is currently enrolled in graduate school for Occupational Therapy so she can give back to the community that rallied around her when she suffered her injury.

Watson received her first board-approved grant for $2,658.00 in September 2013 for travel to the Ladies Adaptive Sports Camp in Crested Butte, Colo., personal training at Triumph Fitness in Redmond, Ore., and a season pass to Mount Bachelor in Bend, Ore. The High Fives Foundation Winter Empowerment Grant awarded to Danielle in 2013 helped kick-start her plan to become a competitive adaptive ski racer, with the ultimate goal of making the United States Paralympic Team. The 2014 grant for $1,163.69 will be used for more lessons at Crystal Mountain and to return to the Ladies Adaptive Sports Camp in Crested Butte, CO bringing the grant total to $3,821.69.

About Marcus Reddish

The September 2014 grant for $6,639 awarded to Reddish will be used toward the purchase of a KBG mono-ski with all of the accessories. Reddish is a first time grant recipient of the Foundation.

Photo Courtesy | High Fives Foundation
Photo Courtesy | High Fives Foundation

In March 2013, Stevensville, Mont. resident Reddish was skiing with his wife and children at a local mountain when he misjudged a jump in the terrain park. Just after takeoff, Reddish lost control in the air and landed directly on his back. The crash resulted in a burst fracture of his T-11 vertebrae, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.

Skiing has always been a huge part of Reddish and his family’s life. He has worked as a ski instructor and a volunteer ski patroller for years, and stills holds PSIA, EMT and Canadian Avalanche Association certifications. Skiing in the Northern Rocky Mountain is a favorite family activity, and Reddish has passed his knowledge of the mountains and safety on to his 8-year old son Luke, and 11-year-old daughter Sage. Following his injury last March, Reddish has poured all of his efforts into his recovery with the goal of continuing to spend time in the mountains skiing with his children.

Last season, Reddish and his family traveled to the closest adaptive ski program to their home — four hours away at Whitefish Mountain in the Big Mountain Flathead National Forrest. He found the equipment at Whitefish to be outdated and his skills quickly progressed beyond the adaptive mono-ski that he was using. The board-approved grant that Reddish received in September will be used toward the purchase of a KBG Lynx mono-ski that will allow him to progress as an adaptive skier and get out on the local ski areas with his family.

Since the organization’s January 2009 inception, the Winter Empowerment program service has assisted 65 athletes from 19 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 2014, the High Fives Foundation has set a budget of disbursing $196,000 via board-approved grants through the Winter Empowerment Fund. Thus far in 2014, 26 High Fives Athletes and two organizations have been awarded a sum of 30 board-approved grants for a total of $210,000.

In the month of September the High Fives Foundation distributed funds to ten Winter Empowerment Athletes: Jasmin Bambur of Granby, Colo., John Supon of Denver, Colo., Luke Eckenberg of Temperance, Mich., Ezra McPhail of Duluth, Minn., Landon McGauley of Quesnel, BC, Josh Dueck of Vernon, BC, Danielle Watson of Bend, Ore., Lyndsay Slocumb of Reno, Nev., Marcus Reddish of Stevenville, Mont. and Andrew Kurka of Palmer, Alaska. The Foundation’s Board of Directors Grant Selection Committee approved a total of $32,881.77 to be used toward the Healing Network, Programs, Travel, Winter Equipment and Adaptive Equipment funding categories.

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