We’re teaming up with the awesome people at POC again to give 15 Kelly Brush Riders the opportunity to win a POC helmet for themselves AND for a KBF Grant Recipient. That means POC is giving away 30 helmets to riders in the #KellyBrushRide and members of the #KBFamily this summer!
Here’s how it works:
The top 5 fundraisers (by number of donations received) for the Kelly Brush Ride in the last 5 days of each of June, July, and August win BOTH a helmet for themselves AND for a KBF Grant Recipient that received equipment in a sport that requires a helmet (handcycle, monoski, racing chair, etc.).
The contest dates are:
June 26 – 30
July 27 – 31
Aug. 27 – 31
To start fundraising, register here, get some fundraising tips here, and start fundraising! If you’re one of the 5 people that receive the most number of donations in those 5 days periods, we’ll email you!
So Zeke, Dylan and I took a trip to California. Being out of our normal location and routine allowed me to appreciate Dylan’s changes and development in ways that I don’t always recognize when we are at home.
[Scroll to the bottom for recent photo album!]
Generally, Dylan is an amazing sleeper. Zeke and I have always counted our blessings with this! By about 6 months we were waking up only once a night,. We would give her a bottle and she would go right back to sleep. By 8 months we decided to let her cry (the famous “Cry-It-Out” or “Ferberizing” technique) to try to get rid of the overnight wake up. It took 4 nights of crying (shorter lengths each night) and since then she has slept through the night. Now, she sleeps from about 7pm – 6:30am! It’s awesome!
On our way to California, we had a direct flight that left at 6:30pm (around her bedtime…), so we were a little nervous about how the 6 hour flight would go.
She did great! She got about an hour of sleep then just started playing. She was as happy as ever crawling around our seats. When she got a bit fussy at the end, we put her back to sleep and she slept for the last hour of the flight. Like I said, she’s a great sleeper!
Eating has been a different story… Since she was born she wasn’t a great eater. We struggled with breast feeding for 4 months before I switched to all bottles full time. This was a really hard decision for me but it was the right one. She started growing much better and was a much happier kid. Introducing solid foods was a hysterical process as she tried to figure out what was going into her mouth. For many months she wouldn’t do anything except a purée. We tried it all—small pieces of fruit, vegetable, egg, meat, baby food puff things that just dissolve in their mouth—and she wouldn’t do it. Then one day, right before she turned 1, she just started eating! I don’t think it was anything Zeke or I did or didn’t do, she just needed to do it on her own time.
These days she’s eating better, meaning she will eat solid (normal) foods, but she is still VERY picky. I have offered her a fruit or vegetable with almost every meal since we started solids and she doesn’t eat any of them. For the first time ever a few weeks ago she put a pea in her mouth and chewed down on it before promptly spitting it out. But, hey, I thought it was progress! She definitely has staples that she’ll always eat, like a peanut butter sandwich, pasta with pesto on it, and eggs. We continue to offer her new foods often, but she’s not great at trying them. On the plane ride to CA, the key was to have some of her favorite foods but also a lot of snacks and different foods to keep her entertained.
Her eating tribulations have been a really good lesson for me both personally as a parent and professionally as a pediatric nurse practitioner.
Dylan’s physical development is also a bit behind but still fine (as Zeke always makes sure to remind me!). She started crawling at about 10 months and hasn’t started walking yet. She is pulling up to stand and cruising a bit (taking steps while holding on to furniture). As one friend pointed out to me recently, this may be a blessing in disguise as I know a baby who can walk and run away from me will add an extra challenge! Walking any time between 9 and 18 months is considered normal so we are well within that.
While we were on the plane it was very clear that Dylan has become much more agile with her crawling and climbing. Even though she hasn’t started walking she is definitely continuing to progress. Her most common words are mama and dada. She will sometimes use them in reference to Zeke and me, but sometimes it’s random too. She also says “hi”, but other than that she doesn’t have any words that we have been able to identify. She loves playing pee-a-boo, waving hi and bye, clapping, and giving high fives (though she does it best with me and not as great with other people so far). She is incredibly social and will smile at anyone who walks by (whether or not they look at her). We saw this a lot on the plane ride, she was waving to and smiling at people who were asleep or not looking!
Overall Dylan did really well on our trip to California! She slept well everywhere we went, ate well (and even ate some variations on her staples), was happy pretty much the whole time, and gave everyone we saw lots of smiles and engagement. Zeke and I remark frequently, particularly on this trip, that we feel lucky that Dylan is such a good kid!
The Kelly Brush Foundation and the National Ability Center are teaming up to help people with paralysis try, learn, and own adaptive sports equipment.
The National Ability Center is a world-class adaptive sports program in Park City, UT. They provide people with any disability the opportunity to get active, have fun, and even master a sport.
We help people with paralysis purchase and own adaptive sports equipment. Our grant program has helped over 475 people in 47 states get their own equipment.
Now we’re teaming up! Together, the National Ability Center and the Kelly Brush Foundation are helping people:
TRY adaptive sports at the National Ability Center,
LEARN and receive personalized instruction on a certain piece of equipment at the National Ability Center, and
OWN and take that equipment home.
HOW IT WORKS
The Kelly Brush Foundation purchased 4 handcycles for the National Ability Center to use in its programming.
People with paralysis can go to the National Ability Center and use that equipment.
Program participants can then apply to the Kelly Brush Foundation—demonstrating the desire and skill to use it independently—to make it theirs!
Attend programming at the National Ability Center.
Have paralysis caused by spinal cord injury or spina bifida.
Demonstrate financial need.
Without a disability, someone can get active by going out and buying the equipment they need to do that sport or activity (for example, a pair of running shoes, a bike, or a tennis racket). There are generally cheap options where someone can start. For more involved sports like skiing, you can rent equipment until you’re ready to buy.
But for the disabled community, equipment can be prohibitively expense and access can be very challenging. An entry-level handcycle starts around $1,500, which is the equivalent of a $200 bike at a local bike shop. And this is for people that generally already have a higher cost of living.
This is where adaptive sports programs, like the National Ability Center, play an extremely important role. They provide the opportunity to try sports and recreation, the instruction to learn how to do it, adaptive rental equipment, and the community in which to do it effectively. But the ability to live an independent, active lifestyle often hinges on the transition from trying to owning equipment, which can be difficult and prohibitively expensive.
That’s where our grant programs and others like it come in. But it takes time. While we’ve fine-tuned our application over many cycles, it can still be a challenge to really get to know the applicant and their abilities. There are two particular things we’d like to know more about:
Is this the right piece of equipment for an applicant’s skill and ability, and
Does the applicant have the desire to use the equipment regularly and make it a part of their lifestyle.
This is the promise of the Path2Active partnership. Together, we can improve how people with paralysis develop independent active lifestyles, scale our collective impact, and spend our grant funding more efficiently.
We hope that this is just the first of many successful Path2Active partnerships. If you want to learn more information about Path2Active, contact Zeke at [email protected].
The Kelly Brush Foundation awards $141,000 in Adaptive Sports Equipment Grants to 73 new members of the #KBFamily!
We are excited to announce the results of our 2017 Spring Adaptive Sports Equipment Grant Class. Collectively, the applicants were the highest caliber we’ve ever received in a single cycle. The applications were filled with stories of how sports and being active transform and improve the lives of people living with paralysis.
In the months to come, we’ll be featuring stories from the new members of our #KBFamily. Below are just some of the first reactions to come from new grant recipients from around the country. Stay tuned on our social media channels to hear more!
12TH ANNUAL RIDE SUPPORTS ADAPTIVE SPORTS, SKI RACING SAFETY
BURLINGTON, Vt. (May 8, 2017)—Registration is open for the 12th Annual Kelly Brush Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations. The fundraising ride is set for Saturday, Sept. 9 in Middlebury, Vermont.
The bicycle and handcycle ride supports the Kelly Brush Foundation’s mission to enrich the lives of those with paralysis through sport and recreation and to prevent ski racing injuries through a shared commitment to safety.
The ride, Vermont’s largest charity ride, draws more than 700 riders and several dozen handcyclists from across the country and Canada. Last year’s ride raised more than $450,000.
“The Kelly Brush Ride, our biggest fundraiser of the year, has become a New England tradition, offering a great reason for friends and family to come together, raise funds, and enjoy a scenic early fall ride. Riders, donors and volunteers make it possible for us to improve the quality of life for those with paralysis and to work with the ski racing community to make racing safer,” said Kelly Brush Foundation Executive Director Zeke Davisson.
The Kelly Brush Foundation has purchased more than 475 pieces of adaptive sports equipment such as handcycles, sport wheelchairs and monoskis to enrich the lives of those with paralysis. In addition, the foundation has supported ski clubs and race organizations in efforts to improve ski racing safety, helping protect thousands of racers around the country with safety netting, trail widening projects and awareness campaigns.
The event’s title sponsor, VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, continues to support the event and the foundation’s mission.
“This year will be our sixth as title sponsor of the Kelly Brush Ride. We are honored to be a part of the tradition that this ride has become and to be a part of an event that makes a positive difference in the lives of so many through sport and recreation,” said Timo Shaw, president of VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations.
The ride offers gently rolling terrain through the Champlain Valley over several distance options from 20 to 100 miles. Riders and teams of riders compete to raise the most money with prizes for reaching fundraising goals. The ride ends with a well earned and festive barbecue.
The Kelly Brush Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations is made possible thanks to the generosity of many participants, volunteers and sponsors including: VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Shearer Audi, Sugarbush Resort, SkiRack, World Cup Supply, Murphy Realty Company and more than 25 other generous sponsors.
About the Kelly Brush Foundation: The Kelly Brush Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering those with paralysis live engaged and fulfilling lives through sport and recreation and to prevent ski racing injuries through a shared commitment to proper safety practices. The foundation has purchased more than 475 pieces of adaptive sports equipment. In addition, the foundation has supported ski clubs and race organizations in efforts to improve ski racing safety, helping protect thousands of racers around the country with safety netting, trail widening projects and awareness campaigns. Kelly Brush, together with her family, started the foundation in 2006 after she sustained a severe spinal cord injury while racing in NCAA Div. 1 competition as a member of the Middlebury College Ski Team in Vermont. The Kelly Brush Foundation affirms Kelly’s ongoing commitment to live life on her own terms and better the lives of others living with paralysis. www.kellybrushfoundation.org
About VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations: VBT offers deluxe, small group bicycling and walking tours worldwide, including destinations throughout Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Myanmar, Peru, Chile, South Africa and the United States. Each trip includes all accommodations, many meals, two expert local Trip Leaders, unique sightseeing and cultural activities and on-tour vehicle support. Unlike other companies, VBT also includes roundtrip international airfare from over 30 U.S. cities and select Canadian cities for all overseas vacations. VBT has been rated among the “World’s Best Tour Operators” by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine for six years.
IMAGE CAPTION (above): Cyclists rolling in the Kelly Brush Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations on Sept. 10, 2016. The 12th annual ride, which starts and finishes in Middlebury, Vermont, is set for Sept. 9, 2017. Image: Caleb Kenna
IMAGE CAPTION (attached): Kelly Brush, on right, leads the pack of handcyclists at the Kelly Brush Ride Powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations in Middlebury, Vermont, Sep. 10, 2016. The 12th annual ride is set for Sept. 9, 2017. Image: Caleb Kenna