Paralympic medalist to join the ride
BURLINGTON, Vt. (September 3, 2013) Vermont’s largest charity ride, the Kelly Brush Century Ride powered by VBT Bicycle and Walking Vacations, is set to roll on Saturday in Middlebury, Vt. Over 700 cyclists and handcyclists are expected to spin through the scenic Champlain Valley raising funds for adaptive athletes and ski racing safety.
Among the riders will be 13-time Paralympic medalist Chris Waddell. He is the most decorated male skier in Paralympian in history and one of an elite group to have medaled in both summer and winter games.
Now in its eighth year, the Kelly Brush Century Ride Powered by VBT Bicycle and Walking Vacations has raised over $1 million for adaptive athletes and ski racing safety. In addition to drawing more bicyclists than any other charity ride in the state, the event is the region’s largest for adaptive athletes using handcycles with more than two dozen participants taking to the course last year.
“For the Kelly Brush Foundation the century ride is where the rubber meets the road,” said Charlie Brush, foundation president. “Participants in the ride have raised over $1 million empowering the foundation to make a positive difference in the quality of life for adaptive athletes living with Spinal Cord Injury and helping to change the paradigm when it comes to ski racing safety.”
Funds raised through the ride support the Kelly Brush Foundation’s mission to conquer the challenges of paralysis through love of sport by helping athletes with spinal cord injuries purchase specialized sports equipment. The foundation has awarded grants for adaptive gear for skiing, cycling, bowling, rowing and even horse carriage racing.
Waddell, who started his own foundation, One Revolution, to change perceptions of the disabled, said joining the Kelly Brush ride was a great way to show his support for the Kelly Brush Foundation’s work.
“I am 100 percent behind the Kelly Brush Foundation’s mission to provide specialized gear to adaptive athletes and improve ski racing safety. I know first hand the beneficial role sports play for those living with spinal cord injury. As a former competitive skier, I’m proud to be associated with an organization that has done so much to raise awareness about and improve ski racing safety,” Waddell said.
Last year, 650 riders participated, supported by 100 volunteers, raising over $250,000 for the Kelly Brush Foundation. Participants in the Kelly Brush Century Ride have helped the foundation award over 60 grants for adaptive equipment and put over 400 miles of safety netting onto race courses across the country.
The scenic ride over gently rolling terrain in the Champlain Valley offers several distance options: 25, 50 or 100 miles, with options to ride 65 or 85 miles. In addition to members of the Middlebury College Ski Team, the ride has seen strong participation from area ski academies, including Green Mountain Valley School, Burke Mountain Academy and Stratton Mountain School. Riders and teams of riders compete to raise the most money with riders earning Patagonia clothing by reaching fundraising milestones.
Online registration for the event closes on Sept. 4 at midnight. Day-of-ride registration is available. Registration is online at: www.kellybrushfoundation.org
The 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 Davisson, who was paralyzed as the result of a ski racing crash. Brush and her family later founded a nonprofit, and the ride was opened to the public.
The Kelly Brush Century Ride powered by VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations is made possible thanks to the generosity of participants and sponsors including: VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations, Shearer Audi, Sugarbush Resort, KeyBank, Saatchi & Saatchi, World Cup Supply and others.
About the Kelly Brush Foundation: The Kelly Brush Foundation is a nonprofit 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. The foundation has raised over $1 million and assisted in procuring over 400 miles of safety netting and other safety equipment for ski racing organizations as well as launched a successful public awareness campaign about ski racing safety. The foundation has also purchased over 60 pieces of adaptive equipment for paralyzed individuals, getting them back into the sports they love. Kelly Brush Davisson, 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
About VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations: Founded in 1971 by a Middlebury College professor, VBT offers deluxe, small group bicycling, walking and cross-country skiing tours worldwide, including destinations in Europe, Costa Rica, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Peru, Argentina, Canada and the U.S.A. Each trip includes all accommodations, many meals, two expert local Trip Leaders, unique sightseeing and cultural activities, and full vehicle support. Unlike other companies, VBT also includes international airfare in its trip cost. www.vbt.com.
About One Revolution: Paralyzed in 1988 while a member of the Middlebury College Ski Team, Chris Waddell went on to become one of the most decorated Paralympic athletes, earning 13 medals over seven games. He won World Championships in skiing and wheelchair racing. Compelled to change the way that others perceive those with disabilities, Waddell founded One Revolution Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to change the way that the world sees people with disabilities by demonstrating the common journey of challenge. www.one-revolution.org