September is a big month for me and the Kelly Brush Foundation:
- September is Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month.
- Since 2006 we have held the Kelly Brush Ride on the Saturday after Labor Day.
- Grant applications are due at the end of this month (September 30), kicking off the best past of our year: our grant cycle!
For each of these reasons (and in very different ways) September is a great month for me.
Awareness Month – While I genuinely live by the mantra that my spinal cord injury doesn’t affect my life or people’s perceptions of me, taking a moment to discuss awareness of and attitudes towards people in wheelchairs or with disabilities generally is important. This is a community that I embrace my role in, but I am careful not to let my being a part of it define me.
Kelly Brush Ride – The first Kelly Brush Ride on September 10, 2006 was organized by my college teammates to raise money for me to purchase adaptive sports equipment. It allowed me to be active again, but most importantly, be active with them again. These were my friends from the ski slopes, and with the proceeds from that first ride, I purchased a monoski and learned how to ski again at the Middlebury Snow Bowl along side them while they trained! This year marks the 10th Annual Kelly Brush Ride (you can register or lean more here). Through our grants we have created hundreds of experiences like mine and prevented a (thankfully) unknown number of injuries like mine!
Grant Cycle – Lastly, grant review and award season is the best time of year at the KBF. We work hard to raise money all year and grant review is when we get to read incredible stories, laugh and cry, and really have an opportunity to change people’s lives. The stories are simultaneously heart-wrenching, uplifting and just plain fun.
So please take a minute this September to reflect on how a spinal cord injury would affect your life and how you perceive people with spinal cord injuries and disabilities generally. And if you feel inclined, perhaps help us inspire people with spinal cord injury to get active and live their lives fully and then support them in doing so! We can’t do it without you!