Two New Athletes Are Welcomed in the High Fives Family!

The Foundation proudly announces that two new athletes have been welcomed into the High Fives Family. Matt Lewis of Truckee, CA and Arash Bayatmakou of Berkeley, CA were are awarded board-approved grants in January and February of 2014 (respectively) via the Winter Empowerment Fund. 


Originally hailing from Australia, Matt Lewis is an enthusiastic and curious individual who had high hopes for his future. He was pursuing a career in the electrical field and playing music nearly every day until August 21, 2013 when Matt suffered terrible injuries after a gas explosion in Southeast Melbourne, Australia.

Despite the setback, Matt is looking toward the future in the area of athletics: both wheelchair rugby and winter sports. Taking advantage of opportunities when they arise, the High Fives Foundation has allowed Matt to pursue new ventures and keep fit and healthy.

January Winter Empowerment Grant for Matt Lewis: $980.00 (10 lessons, 10 rentals and an annual membership to learn adaptive skiing at Disabled Sports USA – Far West: $980.00)


In 2012 Arash fell from a third story balcony of an apartment building, landed on his neck breaking the C5-C6 vertebrae and suffered a spinal cord injury. Arash was instantly paralyzed from the chest down, and was rushed to surgery a couple days later. In surgery, they fused his spine between C4-C7 with titanium rods and screws. Soon after surgery Arash was diagnosed as a C7 Incomplete ASIA B spinal cord injury.

In Arash’s quest to get stronger, gain back function, be outdoors (like he used to all the time), and enjoy life, he would like to partake in a new activity, specifically a winter sport. Arash’s girlfriend is an avid cross-country skier. With assistance from the High Fives Foundation he is on his way to realizing his goal of joining her in that sport.

February Winter Empowerment Grant for Arash Bayatmakou: $990.00 (Adaptive Equipment – Tahoe Donner cross country ski rental [10 days], Tahoe Donner cross country ski lessons [10 Days], Tahoe Donner cross country skiing day pass [10 Days]: $990.00)

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