CONTACT: Betsy Cabrera, Kelly Brush Foundation, 802-846-5298 or [email protected]

BURLINGTON, Vt. (Jan. 10, 2012) – The Kelly Brush Foundation awarded $47,072 in grants for adaptive sporting equipment for individuals living with spinal cord injury (SCI) as part of the foundation’s year end round of grant giving, Kelly Brush Foundation President Charlie Brush announced.

The foundation awarded 13 Kelly Brush Individual Grant Program grants to individuals from across the United States. The financial assistance assists with purchasing adaptive equipment including monoskis and handcycles.

“Enriching the lives of those with spinal cord injury through adaptive sports and recreation is a key goal of the Kelly Brush Foundation. Specialized adaptive equipment, often customized for the individual athlete, can be cost prohibitive.  Through Kelly Brush Individual Grants, the foundation aims to remove financial barriers to participation in adaptive sports,” Brush said.

The Kelly Brush Individual Grant Program provides support to economically disadvantaged individuals to purchase adaptive sporting equipment. The program’s goal is to increase participation in adaptive sports and recreation activities and improve the quality of life for individuals living with SCI.

Chris Jefferson was among the foundation’s grant recipients. Jefferson, a U.S. Army veteran and former 82nd Airborne Division paratrooper, was awarded a grant for adaptive ski equipment that will help him as he strives for a berth on the U.S. Paralympic Team.

“This equipment will make a big difference in my skiing, which in turn will make me better and more competitive as I train for the chance to serve my country again in the 2014 Paralympics in Russia,” said Jefferson, who is training with the Paralympic Development Program in Aspen, Colo.

The foundation also announced $53,442 in Ski Racing Safety Grants to ski clubs and race teams across the country. Ski Racing Safety Grants assist racing organizations in purchasing equipment that enhances safety for racers, including safety netting to line race courses, padding for chair lift towers and spine protectors for racers. Fifteen clubs and organizations received Ski Racing Safety Grants ranging from $500 to Monroe County Special Olympics, in Michigan to replace old and unsafe helmets to $12,500 to the United States Ski and Snowboard Association Central Region, based in Minnesota, for safety netting to bring the entire region up to full netting on all courses.

“Raising the bar for ski racing safety is part of the Kelly Brush Foundation’s core mission. This round of Ski Racing Safety Grants supports clubs and race teams from Maine to Idaho in their efforts to make the safety of their athletes a priority and to change the paradigm for both ski racing and training,” Brush said.

The Kelly Brush Foundation annual grants are made possible by the foundation’s primary fund-raising event, the Kelly Brush Century Ride, which is held annually in September in Middlebury, Vt. and hosted by the Middlebury College Ski Team. This past September, 24 handcyclists and 721 cyclists rode in support of the foundation’s mission and raised more than $275,000 for the foundation’s programs including adaptive equipment grants, improving ski racing safety, advancing scientific research on SCI and supporting the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team.

About the foundation: The Kelly Brush Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving ski racing safety, enhancing the quality of life for those with spinal cord injury(SCI) through providing adaptive sports equipment, advancing scientific research on SCI and supporting the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team.  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 SCI. www.kellybrushfoundation.org

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