[PRESS RELEASE] KBF Announces $275,000 in Awards and Partnerships

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Elizabeth Langfeldt, 802-846-5298 or [email protected]

 

KELLY BRUSH FOUNDATION ANNOUNCES $275K IN AWARDS

FOUNDATION SUPPORTS ADAPTIVE SPORTS, SKI RACING SAFETY AND PARTNERSHIPS

 

Dylan Wells of Axtell, Nebraska, thanks the Kelly Brush Foundation for the Adaptive Sports Equipment Program grant he received that enabled him to purchase a tennis chair in 2016.
Dylan Wells of Axtell, Nebraska, thanks the Kelly Brush Foundation for the Adaptive Sports Equipment Program grant he received that enabled him to purchase a tennis chair in 2016.

SOUTH BURLINGTON, Vt. (October 26, 2016)—The Kelly Brush Foundation awarded $275,000 for adaptive sports gear and ski racing safety equipment grants and strategic partnerships, Executive Director Zeke Davisson announced. This year’s annual grants marked a milestone for the foundation both in the number of awards and the amount awarded.

“We received more applications than ever before from adaptive athletes seeking to improve the quality of their lives and from organizations focused on making ski racing safer,” Davisson said. “As the Kelly Brush Foundation grows we are able to do more, and we are also seeing demand grow. This encourages and motivates us to do even more to meet our mission.”

The foundation awarded 95 Adaptive Sports Equipment Program grants totaling $175,572 for equipment including handcycles for on-road and off-road, sport chairs for basketball, tennis and rugby, and monoskis and race chairs for skiing.

“I can’t put into words how much this is going to help in my path to reigniting my active and competitive lifestyle. I can’t wait to get started,” said Patrick Flautt, of Norcross, Georgia, who received a grant for a handcycle.

A total of 15 ski racing clubs were awarded a total of $54,500 in Ski Racing Safety Grants to purchase safety netting to line training and racing courses. Recipients included the racing program at Mt. Abram in Maine.

“We are grateful to the Kelly Brush Foundation. This grant will help to enable us to net a full trail this winter so we can provide a safe race/training venue,” said Gregg Novick, director, Friends of Mt. Abram.

In addition to the grants for adaptive equipment and ski netting, the foundation allocated $45,000 for Adaptive Sports Partnerships. These funds will support a new initiative called Path 2 Active that creates partnerships with adaptive sports programs and outpatient rehabilitation hospitals to make the path to returning to an active lifestyle as easy and personalized as possible.

The foundation’s fundraising is supported by the foundation’s signature event, the Kelly Brush Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations. In September the 11th annual ride drew more than 700 cyclists and 30 handcyclists and raised more than $425,000. With the ride as its signature fundraising event, the Kelly Brush Foundation has raised more than $3 million, helped purchase nearly 400 pieces of adaptive sports equipment and helped keep thousands of ski racers safe with hundreds of miles of safety netting, trail widening projects and awareness about ski racing safety.

Next year’s ride is set for September 9, 2017 in Middlebury, Vermont.

 

About the Kelly Brush Foundation: The Kelly Brush Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated empowering those with paralysis through ownership of adaptive sports equipment and improving safety in the sport of ski racing. The foundation has raised more than $3 million, helping to purchase nearly 400 pieces of adaptive sports equipment and keep thousands of ski racers safe with hundreds of miles of safety netting, trail widening projects and awareness about ski racing safety. 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

 

IMAGE CAPTION: Dylan Wells of Axtell, Nebraska, thanks the Kelly Brush Foundation for the Adaptive Sports Equipment Program grant he received that enabled him to purchase a tennis chair in 2016.

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In Kelly’s Words – This one’s all about Dylan!

 

IMG_4148My daughter Dylan was born more than 5 months ago now. It feels both like we’ve had her forever and like that time has flown by (I can hardly remember the last full night sleep I had). It has been a wonderful and challenging experience. After learning I would still be able to have kids after my injury, I always wondered what it would be like to care for a child in a wheelchair. What I’ve learned is, like almost everything else in my life since my injury, I just try it and figure it out. So far, there are very few things that I can’t do.

 

Carrying

Carrying Dylan around the house and other places was something I wondered about. How was I going to hold a baby and wheel my chair at the same time? One of the best ways to do this when I’m in my house is to use a boppy on my lap. A boppy is a horseshoe shaped pillow that is designed to wrap around one’s body to make holding a baby easier. I can sit the boppy on my lap and then have Dylan on that. When she was younger she would lay on the boppy. Now that she is a bit more stable she sits on the boppy and leans against me. I sometimes still need to put a hand on her to stabilize her but I make it work. When I’m somewhere that I can’t use the boppy, like out in public, I will often use a baby carrier, a device that basically straps her to my chest. She does well with this and I can use both my hands to push my chair. I pick her up from daycare every day and use the baby carrier to carry her tIMG_4192o my car. As she gets even bigger and more stable I’ve heard that there are devices that strap babies to chairs (used as a substitute to a highchair) that I could use to strap Dylan to my waist so I could wheel with her. Like all things, I’ll just need to experiment with it.

 

Sleeping

For a long time Dylan was sleeping in a bassinet next to our bed. It had one side that could be pushed down so it was easy to get her in and out. When she got to about 4 months we decided it was time for her to sleep in her crib in her own room. The problem was going to be me getting her in and out of a crib because I wouldn’t be able to reach into the crib and pick her up. So we modified our crib by cutting one side in half, putting hinges on these two halves and locks in the middle. Now we just unlock the two sides and one side swings open. I can then get to Dylan easily. It is great and works really well!

 

Picking her up

IMG_4196Another area I worried about was how I was going to get Dylan off of the floor when she is either on her play mat, or, as she gets older, when she is crawling on the floor. My fix with the play mat is to have it on our table instead of on the floor. I have it in the center of the table so she’s safe (and we’re always with her when she’s on it) but it means that she is right at my level. This way I can pick her up and put her there easily, but I also can talk to and play with her easily. It works great. A few times she hasn’t been on the floor and the way that I was able to pick her up was actually to lift her by her onesie. If she is wearing an outfit that has pants and top all connected I can grab a handful of it around her belly and I’m able to lift her straight up off the floor and into my lap (while my other hand stabilizes myself on one of my wheels because I don’t have much trunk stability). I have also heard that you can similarly do this with overalls. I already have a number of overalls to dress her in when she gets a pit bigger and is crawling and moving around the floor more.

 

For the most part I learned all of these things by trial and error. A few of them I got as tips from others that are parents in wheelchairs. The info that other people in wheelchairs have is incredible and can be so helpful. That said though, so much of figuring out the best way to take care of Dylan has been trial and error. So far, there are very few things that I’ve found that I can’t do by myself. Zeke has been gone a few nights randomly and I’ve had to do everything to take care of Dylan and I’ve been able to do it. It is great to know that even with something as unknown as a baby I’m still able to find ways to adapt everything.

 

IMG_6206As for the Dylan update. She’s doing great! She is generally a really happy kid these days. She will be content sitting on a lap or playing with toys on her play mat. She gets fussy when she’s hungry or sleeping but no more of this random fussiness and screaming for no apparent reason. We have started more foods for her and she’s doing better with them. It is kind of hit or miss whether she’s interested in solid food or just wants her bottle – I think it has to do with how sleepy she is and if we can catch her at the right moment of hungry but not too hungry, and not too sleepy. She loves sweet potatoes! That’s been her favorite so far. She has her 6 month check up in a couple weeks and it will be really interesting to see how much she weighs and if she’s continuing to go up in her percentiles for her weight – it sure seems like she will! Dylan is still smiling a ton and very interactive. Our latest challenge is to try to get her to laugh. Zeke thinks he got her laughing once but we’re still working on it again!

A blog from Mike after handcycling 100 miles in the Kelly Brush Ride

 

I was first introduced to the Kelly Brush Foundation in 2009 when I was lucky enough to receive a grant for a KBG sit ski. I’m extremely grateful for that because since then I’ve been able to ski with my friends and family when and where I’ve wanted.

 

Mike and Geoff crossing the Kelly Brush Ride finish line

Fast forward to 2014 when I purchased a hand cycle and began to ride regularly. I’d heard about the Kelly Brush Ride since receiving my grant and now that I had a bike I knew that this was my chance to give back. I got a picture of me on my bike put it on my fundraising page and shared it on Facebook and emailed it to everyone I knew. I had tremendous support from my friends and family and raised much more than I had expected. It was humbling and got me even more excited to take part in the event. I rode all summer and fell in love with cycling, that year I rode the 25 mile route and was blown away by the whole event and knew I’d be back. In 2015, I set a goal to do the 50 mile route, I ended up meeting up with a couple friends and I finished much faster than I expected. I got to meet a bunch of other riders on the road and while enjoying the after party. I was already looking forward to the 2016 ride while driving home that afternoon.

 

On September 10, 2016 I completed my third Kelly Brush Ride and it was the best one yet! I set my goal in the spring of 2016, to ride the 100 mile route at the Kelly Brush Ride and a total of 2,000 miles before snow falls. The night before the Kelly Brush Ride I could barely sleep because of the nervous excitement, this was my first 100 mile ride and 40 miles longer than my previous longest ride! My buddy Geoff, also a hand cyclist, and I have done a lot of riding together at home in New Hampshire’s White Mountains. He’d done a few century rides previously and knew how much I’d trained and that I could do it. We were the first ones in the parking lot and got ready as the sunlight was barely a glow on the horizon. We were on the road before 6am, giving us plenty of time to finish and enjoy the social scene at the finish line.

 

We hit our stride early and knocked out the first 60 miles in just under 4.5 hours, the next 40 or so went a little slower but we still finished in better than expected time (under 9 hours) and crossed the finish line around 3pm to a roaring crowd. It was an awesome feeling to accomplish such a big personal goal but also to show what’s possible if you work hard and set goals. We had plenty of time to enjoy some food, drinks and talk with old friends and make some new ones.

 

I’m so thankful for the Kelly Brush Foundation because receiving my grant gave me the start I needed to get back into sports after suffering a spinal cord injury from a motor vehicle accident in 2006. I’ll continue to look forward to the Kelly Brush Century Ride in the years to come knowing that the money raised is helping to get someone else that suffered an injury back into sports, staying active, setting and achieving goals of their own.

 

Also a huge THANK YOU to all the volunteers that help make the ride so amazing!!!

 

See you on September 9, 2017 for the 12th Annual Kelly Brush Ride!

In Kelly’s Words – Kelly Brush Ride!

Kelly Brush Foundation Bike Ride 09/10/16What a day! Once again we had an amazing Kelly Brush Ride, with great weather and hundreds of loyal riders, volunteers, and supporters! So here are the numbers:

  • 700 Riders including 25 handcyclists
  • $425,000 raised and we expect more to trickle in this week

One of my favorite parts of the day each year is the handcycle start. We have all of the handcyclists together (except those that are going for 100 or 50 miles, who start earlier), we leave the start together and we get to go out onto the route together. It is fun to see so many adaptive athletes together. About 10 of the handcyclists are using handcycles that were purchased by the KBF, and a number of other riders received grants from the KBF for other sports equipment. It really makes it feel full circle and reminds us why we raise the money.

20160910_vtkellybrushride-108One other part of the ride that I love is the eclectic group that comes out to support me and ride. There is someone from probably every time in my life that comes each year and it’s amazing to see everyone. The mom of my best friend in preschool has come to the ride every year. I have friends and parents of friends from high school, college, and graduate school that are there each year. My grandfather comes each year – and rides! – and he’s 86! There are countless people from the ski industry, including many ski academies. There were people there from at least 4 different adaptive sports programs, including as far away as Colorado.

On top of all of these people, there is a huge number of people who do the ride for some other reason than a connection with me – they heard it was a great ride, they like the cause, it’s a nice area to ride, and who knows what other reasons! The support from all riders, volunteers, and supporter is incredible!

It is always a lot to plan and there are little (and sometime big) glitches that come up (the road construction was a big glitch this year!), but it is always worth it. Regardless of the money raised, the day of the Kelly Brush Ride is just fun! Can’t wait for next year!! (September 9th, 2017)

Dylan update:

The Kelly Brush Foundation benefit bike ride in Middlebury on Saturday morning September 10, 2016 in Middlebury, Vermont.

Dylan started daycare last week! Since I’ll be going back to work as a Nurse Practitioner on Sept. 19th we decided to start daycare a couple weeks early to get her used to it and to give us some more time the week before the ride. While it was really hard to leave her there the first day (I cried, Zeke said he knew I would), she seems to have done well and it didn’t mess up her routine too much which I have heard can happen. All in all, it was a good experience.

Dylan continues to do well now that she’s taking a bottle instead of nursing. She’s gaining weight better (she has jumped up to the 7th percentile from the 2nd!) and she seems happier. We have tried some solid foods with her, but she’s not that fond of it and mostly cries. It was pretty funny watching her try for the first time though! We’ll give her a little break and try again this week. I’m excited to start different foods and see what she does and does not like – another fun new chapter!

Kelly Brush Ride Recap

11th Annual Kelly Brush Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations the most successful Kelly Brush Ride ever!

On Saturday, 700 riders and 95 volunteers came together to raise over $425,000 at the 11th Annual Kelly Brush Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations to help purchase adaptive sports equipment for people with spinal cord injuries and safety equipment for alpine ski race programs.

Kelly Brush Ride by-the-numbers:

  • $425,000 – raised (and still growing!)
  • 700 – riders (including 25 handcyclists)
  • 95 – volunteers (at the Start/Finish, water stops, and supporting)
  • 237 – riders fundraised, receiving donations from 1992 donors
  • 65 – riders earned KBF Pearl Izumi cycling jerseys (for raising $750)
  • 37 – riders earned KBF Patagonia Down Sweaters (for raising $1500)

Top Fundraisers and Prize Winners:

  • Top Teams – GMVS ($46,350) | Midd ’84/17 ($42,541)
  • Top Fundraiser – Rick Makin ($10,850)
  • Top New Fundraiser – Michael Misurelli ($3,550)
  • Rossignol Ski Winner – Marc Tabah (Top Fundraiser Last 2 Weeks – $3,200)
  • Rossignol Ski Winner – Dorothy van Gerbig (Most Donations Last 2 Weeks – 48)
  • VBT Raffle Winner – Norma, South Carolina
  • See the whole Scoreboard here >

Special thanks:

  • VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations – Our title sponsor and great partner!
  • Middlebury College and the Middlebury Ski Team – Our gracious hosts!
  • Fundraisers – They go above and beyond to help us fulfill our mission.
  • Volunteers – The best make the best event!
  • Castleton University Ski Team – They drive an hour and a half and work from 7:30am to 6:30pm.

SAVE THE DATE –  September 9, 2017

12th Annual Kelly Brush Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations

 

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