Vermont’s Largest Raises Funds for Spinal Cord Injury Prevention, Adaptive Sports
BURLINGTON, Vermont – The sixth annual Kelly Brush Century Ride is set to roll on Saturday. The route that starts and ends in Middlebury and goes through Addison and Chittenden Counties was unaffected by the recent flooding.
“We are incredibly fortunate that the ride course was unaffected by Tropical Storm Irene and we are looking forward to welcoming the hundreds of cyclists and handcyclists who help support the Kelly Brush Foundation by riding with us on Saturday,” Kelly Brush Foundation President Charlie Brush said. “We realize some riders may have to travel alternate routes to get from their homes to the ride this year which makes us appreciate the effort to support the foundation more than ever.”
In just six years, the scenic bicycle ride through the Champlain Valley has evolved from a dozen cyclists to the largest fundraising ride in the state. Last year’s ride drew 675 riders and raised $275,000 for spinal cord injury (SCI) prevention and adaptive sports equipment grants.
The Kelly Brush Century Ride is one of the best attended events in the Northeast for adaptive athletes using hand-cranked handcycles. Last year 23 participants took to the course on handcycles. (A list of local handcyclists registered to participate is attached below.)
“Every participant, whether riding a bicycle or using a handcycle, supports the foundation’s mission to help others face the challenges of paralysis through providing them with adaptive sports gear and to improve ski racing safety,” Brush said.
The 100-mile ride raises money to support the Kelly Brush Foundation’s multi-faceted mission including: improving ski racing safety, enhancing the quality of life for those with SCI through adaptive sports equipment grants, advancing scientific research on SCI and supporting the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team.
Ride participants can enter as a fundraising team or as individuals riding distances of 28, 50 or 100 miles, with options for 65 and 85 mile loops. Registration is online at: www.kellybrushfoundation.org. Online registration closes at midnight on Wednesday, Sept. 7. Day of event registration is open from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Riders start any time between 7:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. on Satruday with handcyclists starting at 9 a.m.
The scenic ride through rolling farmland along Lake Champlain continues to grow each year. The number of participants grew by 175 last year and fundraising increased by 40 percent.
For every $5,000 raised by a team or individual, the foundation donates adaptive sports equipment in the name of the team or individual who raised the money. In addition, funds raised support ski racing safety grants awarded to ski clubs and racing organizations across the country for safety netting to line race courses and safety gear for racers.
The Kelly Brush Century Ride was started by the Middlebury College Ski Team as a way to raise money to buy an adaptive mono-ski for team member Kelly Brush, who was paralyzed as the result of a ski racing crash. Brush and her family later founded a non-profit, and the ride was opened to the public.
The Kelly Brush Century Ride is made possible thanks to the generosity of participants and sponsors including: VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Shearer Audi, Sugarbush Resort, Earthlogic and others.
About the foundation: The Kelly Brush Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving ski racing safety, enhancing the quality of life for those with spinal cord injury(SCI) through providing adaptive sports equipment, advancing scientific research on SCI and supporting the U.S. Adaptive Ski Team. Kelly Brush, together with her family, started the foundation in 2006 after she sustained a severe spinal cord injury while racing in NCAA Div. 1 competition as a member of the Middlebury College Ski Team in Vermont. The Kelly Brush Foundation affirms Kelly’s ongoing commitment to live life on her own terms and better the lives of others living with SCI. www.kellybrushfoundation.org
The roster of handcyclists registered for the Kelly Brush ride includes the following participants from Vermont:
Bryan Bathalon, Eden
Kelly Brush, Charlotte
Cleary Buckley, South Burlington
D Sandy Craige, Barre
Jay Flickinger, Shelburne
Chris Grant, New Haven
Paula McNeill, Rutland
Eric Rose, Manchester Center
Jeremy Shortsleeve, Essex Junction