Hundreds turn out to support disabled athletes

Published: Sep. 9, 2017 at 8:07 PM EDT
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Hundreds of cyclists show up each year for the Kelly Brush Foundation Ride in Middlebury but just twelve years ago it started as small fundraiser for a single athlete. Middlebury college skiers held the first fundraiser to help Brush get adaptive ski gear after a ski racing accident.

"I thought that I wasn't going to be able to be an athlete anymore after my accident and realized I could be. I learned about adaptive sports, so we provide grants to individuals of spinal cord injuries to help them be athletes," said Kelly Brush, founder of the Kelly Brush Foundation.

Now her foundation has helped people across the nation get into adaptive sports. This Saturday the annual event brought more than 800 cyclists from across the region out to support the cause.

"I'm a skier. We love skiing. What they're doing is so important, and then it was the adaptive sports. It's very impressive, and Kelly's very impressive," said Jerry Bird of Boston.

Athletes of all backgrounds signed up including one sled hockey team named the Central Vermont Pioneers.

"We're one of the most closest teams. We have father-son teams, three of them in fact. It's really the best way for all of us to bond together," said 14-year-old Kyler Quelch.

Even though they're usually most at home on the ice--they decided to hop on bikes to support the cause.

"It feels great. I think supporting a team and supporting this foundation really means hey we have a close bond here. Let's support each other and help each other out," said Quelch.

This year the fundraiser reached a new goal of $500,000 to continue helping athletes get connected to adaptive sports.