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Where Does the Money Go?

Since its inception in 2007, the Kelly Brush Foundation has awarded grants to individuals suffering from a spinal cord injury. These grants pay for adaptive sporting equipment which drastically improves the quality of life for these individuals and lets them get out and enjoy sports and the outdoors in a way they would not otherwise be able to do. The Kelly Brush Foundation Individual Grant Program has already helped many people in their pursuit to live a productive, healthy, independent life after a spinal cord injury. Here are some of their stories!

   "I was paralyzed in a mountain biking accident in 2006. Biking has always been a passion of mine and I was devastated by the prospect of not being able to bike again. Shortly after my accident I began researching ways to get back into my favorite sports and learned about the hand cycle but the cost was prohibitive, as is most adaptive sports equipment.   A friend told me about the Kelly Brush Foundation, so I applied for the money to purchase a hand cycle and received it in the Spring of 2008. It has been tremendous to be able to get back into cycling again and if it were not for the grant I would not have been able to afford it.   This past spring, summer and fall I cycled a few days a week on the bike path in Cheshire, MA. I ride the length of the trail and back, 22 miles.   I also ride a hillier 30 mile course from Pittsfield, MA to Williamstown, MA.   The bike is so light I can get it in and out of my van myself.   I?ve done a couple local races and hope to use it in the NYC this year. I can't begin to describe how thankful I am and how essential it is for me to be able to get back to doing the things I love with the people I love."
Ann Hayes
Pittsfield, MA


"The Cross Country Sit Ski has made my Winters so much more fun.  Before I got the sit ski I literally dreaded the Winter but now I look forward to it.  It allows me the freedom to be outdoors and get a good workout.  I remember the first year after my accident I was so depressed because I couldn't go skiing/snowboarding with my friends and family and now the past couple of winters I have been able to get out there with them!  Not only have I gone with other people but I have also found a way to get out and go by myself as well which is truly liberating. 
Last year on Christmas I went out at midnight with my family and skied with the full moon lighting the way. It was such a great feeling to be out enjoying what I love to do.  On another occasion my sister, my husband, and I skied to a restaurant and my Mom met us with my wheelchair so we could have lunch and then we skied home. I can never thank the Kelly Brush Foundation enough for giving me the Grant for the Sit ski because I would have never been able to afford it otherwise."
   Andrea Mallar-Kerr
   Jericho, VT

   "Imagine being 40 feet below the surface of the ocean, swimming with sharks, exploring for lobsters, and only having sensation from your waist up. Thanks to the Kelly Brush Foundation I can do that now. It requires a lot of work to replace your legs and fins with your arms and at the same time be able check vital meters such as oxygen levels. This was the hardest part of scuba diving for me since after my car accident that severed my spinal cord. It is through the generosity of the Kelly Brush foundation that my great difficulty was overcome. Through the foundation I received an Oceanic Datamask®. This mask has a wireless sensor that attaches to your tank and sends the data about your gas levels, depth, and time directly to a little screen in my mask. It is truly the cutting edge of scuba diving technology and makes diving for a paraplegic so much more pleasant as I can use my arms for guiding myself around and have the security of knowing all the vital information about my dive by just glancing down. It's just so cool too! I remember after shoring up from my first dive with the mask I yelled at my mentor, "That was the best dive I've had in over a year!" I can really focus on lessons from him also, as I am working to become certified as an assistant instructor. Thank you so much Kelly Brush Foundation, you gave me my favorite sport back!"
      Austin Whitney
      San Juan Capistrano, CA 

   "I received an equipment grant for carbon-fiber handcycle racing wheels from the Kelly Brush Foundation in the Fall of 2008. I am a T6 paraplegic and had requested the equipment to help me pursue my handcycle racing goals, specifically to start winning races.
The racing wheels I received were just what I needed to put me in the front of the pack. I had completed the California International Marathon in 2006 with a respectable time of 1:59 and finished in second place. The time was fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon, but not fast enough to win the race.  
With two years of serious training and a set of carbon fiber racing wheels courtesy of the Kelly Brush Foundation, I won the California International Marathon in December of 2008 with a time of 1:30, a full 30 minutes faster than before! The wheels helped me increase my average speed on the course from 13.1mph to 17.2 mph, an astounding 31% increase in speed! 
Thank you for giving me the tools to complete my goals!"
Matt Strugar-Fritsch
Carmichael, CA

The Kelly Brush Foundation Ski Racing Safety Grant Program awards grants to ski and snowboard clubs and organizations that are unable to afford the safety equipment needed for ski races. The purpose of this grant is to prevent severe accidents by increasing the level of safety at ski races. Typically organizations awarded with grant money will use the funds to purchase safety items such as netting, padding, and markers.

To date, the Kelly Brush Foundation has provided grants to nearly 50 ski racing clubs and organizations throughout the United States to improve safety on their race courses. Here is what they have to say about the impact of these grants on their programs:

  "As the season winds down and the horizon extends beyond the next race, I'm sending our thanks for your contribution to the Bromley Outing Club this year.  As a small club, it's always a challenge to find the money to plan ahead. Your help couldn't have come at a better time. We're extremely grateful for the financial support and inspired by your personal campaign for greater attention to ski racing safety."
         Ben Benedict
         Bromley Outing Club
         Manchestser Center, VT

  "I cannot thank you enough for your support of the Mount Mansfield Ski Club. We are so excited that the Main Street trail will soon open and our skiers will be able to leave the club and head up to Main Street for incredible training and racing runs. This would not be possible without the generous gift from the Kelly Brush Foundation for the purchase of safety netting.  I am very grateful for your important gift of safety, so critical to our athletes, overall training."
         Igor Vanovac
         Mount Mainsfield Ski & Snowboard Club
         Stowe, VT

   "Thank you for your generous grant?This project will improve skier safety by separating the snowboard terrain park from our training lanes and by creating a dedicated race area for giant slalom runs. [We] have a long history of sharing our equipment with the local high school teams when they host invitational races, and the netting purchased will be used in those races as well?The Kelly Brush Foundation provides an inspiring and positive perspective on a critical issue to the sport of alpine ski racing. Thank you for your efforts in promoting safety for all levels of ski racers."
         Larua Ness
         Grand Traverse Ski Club
         Traverse City, MI

   "We are grateful that you are championing safety in ski racing, as well as working to make changes within our industry!  With [Kelly Brush Foundation Grant funds] families will be paying less than wholesale for back protectors for our racers and kidney protectors for our freeride athletes. Thank you for your thoughtful contribution and for instigating change. [The Kelly Brush Foundation] has provided incentive for us to be more proactive and creative in implementation [of safety programs]."
         Suzy Chase-Motzkin
         Hunter Mountain Racing Foundation
         Hunter, NY 

   "We wish to thank you for your kind and generous support. Kelly is such an inspiration!...One of our coaches came to us with the idea of encouraging the children to wear spine protectors?We decided to use your donation to discount the items even further [than the local ski shop had done for us]. We are happy to report we discounted 12 spine protectors and we were able to purchase 2 protectors to keep on hand to share with those who did not/could not purchase the spine protector themselves."
         Deirdre Coluntino
         Michelle Phillips
         Attitash Race Team
         Attitash, NH 


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