Warren’s Roy Tuscany was training to become a professional skier when he overshot a jump in Mammoth, Calif., in 2006. The fifth-generation Vermonter flew 130 feet into the air—and the landing exploded his t-12 vertebra. At the hospital, doctors said he would never walk again. But after 43 days of physical therapy—and a recovery fund through which friends and family raised more than $85,000—Tuscany began taking small steps. When he stepped back on skis in March of 2008, he decided to pay it forward.The foundation now strives to be a “safety net” for outdoor sports athletes through three program services.
The first, an empowerment fund, gives grants directly to service providers for expenses in nine categories. Grants can help with anything from living expenses to health and travel. The second allows High Fives athletes to heal in a private environment at the CR Johnson Healing Center in Truckee, Calif., at no cost. Finally, a program called BASICS helps recovered athletes speak openly about the mistakes that led to their injuries.
High Fives has raised $6.25 million for injured athletes in 31 states, and this September, announced its largest grant cycle ever, giving more than $110,500 to 22 recipients. The program has helped others like Roy Tuscany, including Max Elles, who broke his back snowboarding at Killington in 2012. The event initially paralyzed Elles from the waist down, but he has since been able to walk and even snowboard.
As the Warren, Vt. office looks to expand, it’s looking for volunteers to help with events and organization. The organization encourages donations, and if you’d like to have some fun while donating, you can always check the calendar at highfivesfoundation.org for rail jams, movie premiers and more.
Click on one of the following links to read more about the organizations in Vermont that get skiers and riders who face challenges of many kinds, out on the mountain. Or, click here to read about the impact one organization had on a participant.