The High Fives Non-Profit Foundation (Truckee, CA), recently completed the first chapter in what is known as ‘The Landon McGauley Project.’
To say that this is an unfortunate story about a 15 year old skier and downhill mountain biker from Quesnel, British Columbia, which involved a tragic biking accident on July 4th, 2010 is for the birds. The life we live is way too short to constantly be in a state of remorse, sorrow or regret. In the words of our late, great friend CR Johnson, “Live your life, love your life, with no regrets!”
Landon McGauly is about as grounded, stoic and courageous as they come. With a set of steely eyes that exude his similarity to a sponge, absorbing all info and advice around him, Landon is not one for wasting time. Replete with a doctor’s note from his surgeon in B.C. explaining that he was cleared to begin learning the sport of adaptive skiing just six months after his accident, Landon arrived in Lake Tahoe ready to get to work.
High Fives Non-Profit Foundation received an application under the Winter Empowerment Fund in the name of Landon McGauley after the High Fives Level 1 “Eye Trip” ski movie premiere held at Fifty-Fifty Brewing Co. in Truckee, CA. The foundation learned about Landon and his story through a posting on Level 1’s website regarding a benefit screening to raise funds for Landon. After contact was made with the McGauleys, an application to the foundation was completed and approved; the wheels (pun intended) were set in motion.
From January 5-10, 2011 the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation provided an amazing trip for Landon, his parents (Rob and Pam) and brother (Chris) to Olympic Valley, CA and Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. The High Fives Winter Empowerment Fund funded the trip by securing transportation by Truckee Tahoe Transportation Inc., lodging at the Resort at Squaw Creek, adaptive lessons with Disabled Sports USA FarWest (Alpine Meadows) with Bill Bowness (a two-time paralympic medalist, respectively), Smith Optics goggles and helmet, a pair of Volkl Bridge skis, Superlite Outriggers (adaptive ski poles) and a brand new sit-ski from Freedom Factory.
When asked prior to the trip about his thoughts on his recovery process, Landon responded, “My goal is to be able to get back on the mountain in a sit ski this winter. The ultimate goal is to pursue my dream of competing in the Olympics in 2014.”
Landon learned from the best in the business, and made tremendous strides each day he was on the snow. His attitude was never down nor was the witty, teenager’s energy level as he handed out Red Bull cans to everyone involved each morning at Disabled Sports USA – Far West (Alpine Meadows Ski Resort).
In addition to learning a new sport, Landon taught us a few things as well. With a handful of “banger” songs that he suggested for us to download each morning, a sarcastic yet warm sense of humor and a plethora of great jokes and stories, Landon offered a unique perspective coming from a recent para-athlete. No qualms about life and the cards you are dealt, allow you to look at each day with a fresh set of eyes, ready to take on the world.
Landon’s story has just begun. With the support of his loving family, friends, his home mountain of Troll Ski Resort (Quesnel, BC) and the High Fives Non-Profit Foundation the next chapter is ready to be written.
High Fives Athlete/Ambassador and Two-Time Paralympic Gold Medalist John Davis:
“The journey starts with a kick-off to all things being positive. In the grand scheme of paying it forward, the journey starts with a high five! I am beyond excited to see what will transpire with this guy.”
High Fives Advisory Board Member and Unofficial Networks Filmographer Nik Sullivan:
“Landon was all smiles, all week regardless of how hard things were for him. That in itself sets the stage for the great things to come and also speaks to Landon’s amazing work ethic.”
High Fives Winter Empowerment Fund Grant Recipient Landon McGauley:
“This week was the best week of my life, thanks to you guys at High Fives!”
· Age: 15
· Hometown: Quesnel, BC Canada
· Date of Injury: July 4, 2010
· Explanation of Injury: T5 burst fracture; complete S.C.I. -paralyzed from the sternum down.
· Accident occurred at Sun Peaks Resort, Kamloops BC Canada.
About High Fives Foundation:
High Fives Foundation is a Tahoe-based non-profit organization dedicated to raising money and awareness for athletes who have suffered a life-altering injury while pursuing their dream in the winter action sports community. For more information visit www.highfivesfoundation.org.