GoHawkeye Awards Grants to Five Athletes

For the grant period ending June 30, 2018, GoHawkeye awarded $10,000 to five adaptive athletes. These are equipment grants ranging from $600 to $2,500 for specialized sports equipment that included a Freewheel, sit skis, a handcycle, and a racing wheelchair. Our recipients ranged in age from 19 to 56 years old and reside across the country.

Joe Jackson (right).

Joe J. Jackson– 29 from Mesa, Arizona has remained an athlete even after breaking his neck, making a tackle at the age of 16, preparing for a state semifinal playoff football game. Today, he plays wheelchair rugby for the Ability360 Phoenix Heat and has helped his team to three national championships and this year, he has made Team USA.  Joe received a $600 grant to purchase a Freewheel that improves the mobility of his wheelchair in sand and grass especially so he has the freedom to play catch with his dog without assistance.

Stuart Olsen.

Stuart Olsen– 38 from Seattle, Washington was born with Larsen Syndrome, a defection in the joints that led to the amputation of his legs. When he discovered wheelchair basketball eight years ago and the benefits of exercise, adaptive sports became an outlet from the pressures of work and the constraints of his disability.  It changed his life forever. Since trying skiing through the Outdoors For All Foundation, Stuart has discovered the grace and peacefulness that comes from gliding on snow. His $2,500 grant will help purchase a custom fit KBGoodz Taja monoski that will give him freedom from having to rent or borrow equipment.

Gerritt Schaffer.

Gerritt Schaffer– 43 from Sweet Home, Oregon started riding motorcycles at the age of four and racing dirt bikes became his lifelong passion until an accident two years ago left him paralyzed. Losing everything, Garrett decided to focus on what he could do and not the things he couldn’t. Last summer he was introduced to adaptive sports through Oregon Adaptive Sports (OAS) and quickly realized the health benefits that come from sports like hand cycling and skiing. The ability to ski with his son again was an added bonus. GoHawkeye is pleased to help Garrett with a $2,500 grant toward the purchase of his own monoski.

Brenden Ojibway.

Brenden Ojibway– 19 from Barneveld, Wisconsin has always loved the competition that began with racing his grandpa down a hospital hallway. Brenden was born with Spina Bifida and his motto is “Go Fast”! He started racing track and field for his high school in 2015 through the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletes Association (WIAA) and enjoys being part of a team effort. Brenden also competes in Nordic skiing, recently racing in his first 10k and 15k events. He is an inspiration to the kids he teaches in an adaptive fitness class at the local university. Brenden wants to be more competitive in racing and eventually complete a marathon. He has outgrown his old chair and the body positioning is wrong. GoHawkeye wants to help him with a $2,100 grant for a custom racing wheelchair.

Devin Riley.

Devin Riley– 56 from Bishop, California was a typical kid growing up in the outdoors of southern California until sudden flu-like symptoms paralyzed him at age eleven. Transverse Myelitis (TM) is a rare condition typically associated with viral or autoimmune damage to the spinal cord myelin. Devin had a partial recovery but has spent his adult life walking with mobility issues. His elementary years were difficult with this disability and how others viewed him. He couldn’t hide his disability but after trying the motorcycle and finding the freedom of movement it provided, found some relief from it. He rode for twenty years until his condition prevented him from doing so. Next for Devin came more than a decade of business work and a sedentary lifestyle until he met his future wife, an outdoor science educator and National Park Interpretive Ranger in Yosemite. It was then that he learned about adaptive sports. Handcycling and skiing brought a dramatic change to his life. It has always been in his core to be outside and adaptive sports has allowed him to reconnect to his outside core. Now, Devin gives back as a volunteer instructor with Disabled Sports Eastern Sierra in the winter and summer. His old handcycle has seen better days so GoHawkeye has provided a $2,200 grant toward the cost of a new off-road handcycle.

Since 2014 the GoHawkeye Foundation has been helping athletes living with disabilities. These athletes are promoting the benefits of recreation for all abilities and are changing their lives as well as so many others. We couldn’t do it without your support. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made HERE!


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