Someone 2 Know: High Fives Foundation
Tucked away up in Truckee, California, you will find a non-profit unlike any other. We walked in to find a bunch of people, who are overcoming physical and emotional hardships, with nothing but smiles on their faces. "I'm super good," said one person when we asked.
Every person who visits the High Fives Foundation is a winter sports athlete who was hurt doing what they love.
Eighteen-year-old, Taylor Fiddyment cannot feel her legs. She suffered a spinal cord injury in May of 2011 while four-wheeling with friends on a camping trip. Her quad hit a lip and flipped; rolling over her. Taylor says she knew immediately that she lost the use of her legs.
The High Fives Foundation found her in the hospital and offered to help her through recovery. They fit her for a sit ski and are providing her with a personal trainer – at no cost to her.
Meantime, well-known athlete, Grant Korgan was one of the foundation's first recipients. Grant excelled in all winter sports, but especially loves snowmobiling. In March 2010, a trip to the back country with friends changed his life. He took a jump that he had been dreaming about and overshot it – by just two feet. It burst-fractured his first lumbar vertebrae and left him paralyzed from the waist down.
Everyone who walks into the CR Johnson Healing Center, where the High Fives Foundation is housed, has a story of survival. Lifelong skier, Roy Tuscany started the non-profit after he, too, survived a life-altering accident. "For some reason, something was different that day. I hit the same spot, same point, went in the same speed and I ended up over-shooting the bottom of the landing by 30 feet and blowing apart my back instantly upon impact."
Sugar Bowl Ski Resort started a fund to help their former coach pay for alternative healing costs that insurance wouldn't cover. He tried acupuncture, massage and physical therapy. So, Roy thought, "There had to be something like this set up for other because I'm not going to be the only person in the world hurt doing a sport that I love."
That is when High Fives was born. It provides everything from financial assistance for therapy to emotional support for injured athletes. Grant travels the world for treatment. He just returned from Maui, Hawaii where he spent 30 days with a highly-respected neuropilates expert. He arrived in forearm crutches and left in canes. "To have this foundation, who would put up the resources to make that kind of physical gain for me, is huge and that is a beautiful example of what the High Fives Foundation does," explained Grant.
The foundation also sent Grant on a trip of a lifetime to ski to the geographical South Pole in the name of all other athletes with spinal cord injuries.
As for Taylor, the foundation fit her for a sit ski and is providing her with personal training. "That's helped me a lot just with everyday life; getting my chair in and out of my car. I just feel stronger and more accomplished because I can do things now."
That is the goal. As Roy knows all too well, sometimes you need a helping hand getting up after you fall. "I just wanted to make sure that if anyone else happened to fall into the same shoes I did, that there'd be a support staff, financial assistance and guidance to get them through the recovery process."
The High Fives Foundation pays for all these trips, therapy and training by hosting fundraisers. Roy and his team organized more than 50 a year. The next fundraiser will be a Dodge-Ball Tournament October 21st in Truckee. The cost is $150 per team. To learn more about the tournament and the High Fives Foundation, log onto www.highfivesfoundation.org.