Empowering Journeys to Independence
Meet three incredible people with spinal cord injuries to learn how the KBF empowers these stories, and thousands of others. Plus, watch the videos below accompanying each story to get to know our community and see how your donation can support our critical work before the end of 2023 .
Chiemeka, a wheelchair user since age 10, is an unstoppable force. From assistant coaching her high school cross country team, despite having never run, to being the first wheelchair user in her pharmacy school, she has never let anything get in her way. Even after a procedure left her with a further loss of function, Chiemeka took that as an opportunity, and decided it was time to find her sport.
Chiemeka found a local wheelchair tennis club, drawn not just to the sport, but to the community and to proving what she can do. A KBF grant for a custom chair removes that last barrier – an ill-fitting, borrowed one. “My new chair feels like a part of me, and I can’t wait to see how it changes my game.” And while she’s still new to the sport, she has lofty aspirations.
“I want to be like my girl Coco. I’m going to be the Coco of wheelchair tennis. I want to show everyone that nothing can stop you.”
Michael was paralyzed in 2018 when a tree fell on him, leaving him with very limited core muscles, arms, and hands, and no leg function. Finding a sport after a high-level injury can be very daunting, but thanks to a KBF grant for an offroad handcycle, Mike was back out mountain biking on the trails within two years.
Even still, rural life can be isolating, especially for someone with an SCI, which made Mike the perfect fit for KBF’s adaptive mountain bike camp in Vermont. Mike said of the three days of trail riding, socializing, and shared learnings, “It’s life-changing. It’s just so rare to get this kind of experience; to spend time learning from people, people who understand what it’s like to start from square one.”
“Just getting to see everyone, together, riding these trails, doing things I was told I’d never do again, that’s what’s really special.”
Matt has always loved lacrosse. It was his main sport in high school, and one that he thought he had lost after his injury. Matt sustained a high-level spinal cord injury in 2015 after a swimming accident, but saw the new sport of wheelchair lacrosse as a way to return to what he loved.
Now, Matt runs the Utah Wheelchair Lacrosse program, Rolling Raptors, and spends his days fostering growth for the fledgling sport. With the help of the Active Project, Matt promotes his team advocates for the sport, and builds resources for the next generation of lacrosse athletes.
“The biggest thing in our way is getting the word out. Using the Active Project, we can reach a huge community, show why lacrosse can be special, and help more people find a sport they love.”
Non-cash gifts are a “tax-smart” way to give before year-end.
Please consider making a non-cash gift before December 31 in one of the following ways:
- Donor Advised Funds (DAFs)
- Gifts of Stocks and Securities
- Qualified Charitable Distributions (QCDs – ages 70 1/2 +)
- Creating a Legacy by including the KBF as a bequest in your will.
KBF Tax ID #: 20-4560423
Contact Todd Munn, Chief Development Officer, for more information.