In Kelly’s Words – We’re Growing
When my family and I started thinking about the idea of the Kelly Brush Foundation while I was still in my hospital room in rehab, we were thinking relatively small. We wanted to make a big impact in the small community of alpine ski racing so no injury like mine ever happened again. I wasn’t really the dream big kind of person. I wish I could look back and say I had visions of the growing organization we are now, but that just wasn’t how I was thinking at that time. As adaptive sports became part of my personal recovery from spinal cord injury, we added that component to our mission and were introduced to such a large community of incredible people overcoming trauma.
Well on Monday we just added our 5thand 6thfull time employees! Stayed tuned to our social media over the next few weeks as we introduce both Greg (our new Program Director) and Cheryl (our new Development Director).
You’ll get to know them more in the coming weeks, but I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on our history and growth. The first Kelly Brush Ride was in 2006 and that remained our sole fundraiser until 2014. We had part time staff that ran the Ride and a board of directors who functioned only to review grants in the fall. In 2014 we were at an inflection point: do we just continue to run the Kelly Brush Ride as-is or do we choose to grow? Zeke and I had a lot of conversations around that time and we came to the conclusion that there was still a lot of good that could be done with our mission and we wanted to see where we could take the KBF. That was when Zeke decided to leave his job as a lawyer (a leap of faith!!) and start to run the KBF full time. We’re so glad we did!
Which brings me to my day-to-day involvement in the KBF. What a lot of people don’t know is that I have never worked full time for the foundation. I work as a pediatric nurse practitioner 3 days a week and I do one and a half days each week at the KBF. A big part of my story—especially back in the beginning when we were small—was that I didn’t let my injury slow me down. I graduated and chased the career I always dreamed of. I proved to the world and to myself that I—and anyone else after a spinal cord injury—can do anything I want in life. And I just love working as an NP.
My level of involvement in the KBF feels just right at this point. I love the team we’ve built and the progress we’ve made. Inevitably as we continue to grow there is more and more that I’m not directly involved with. It’s something I’m OK with. With this team, it feels really good knowing that our mission is just expanding and we are reaching even more people. I also have so much confidence in our team at the KBF that I don’t worry about where they will take us and I’m excited to see what new and innovative ways they come up with to further our mission.
While I never dreamed we’d be where we are today when we started, I’m so grateful to the team and all our supporters that we’re here.
Nell & Dylan Update:
A lot of people say that when a kid turns 3 something switches and they become much more difficult. We have definitely found that! Dylan turned 3 a few weeks ago and since then has given us a run for our money. Our biggest challenge with her currently is that she has learned she can get out of her bed. She used to stay in her bed until we went in to get her even though she could easily get out of her twin bed on her own. This means that getting her to sleep at night has been a big struggle and then she wakes up early in the morning and comes into our room. This has led to a lot less sleep which then causes her to be grumpy and volatile during the day. A perfect storm! Thankfully Nell has continued to be a dream. She is feeding well, growing like a weed, and sleeping well generally. She usually will give us a 4 or 5 hour stretch at night which feels really nice. I know this phase will pass but it sure feels hard right now!