In 2009, when snowboarder Kevin Pearce suffered a severe traumatic brain injury while training for the U.S. Olympic trials, it was apparent that it was going to take a miracle to restore any sense of normalcy to his life.
The kind of miracle that his family found at Craig Hospital in Englewood, where treatment from a skilled team of doctors and therapists have brought the elite athlete to a point where he can function quite well, thank you very much.
"I'm nowhere near being completely recovered," Pearce told the 1,400 who'd gathered at the Hyatt Regency Convention Center on Feb. 28 for PUSH, a dinner where he received Craig's highest honor, the Christopher and Dana Reeve Inspiration Award. "It's a continuing process."
Amazing as his recovery is — an HBO documentary "The Crash Reel" tells the story quite well — it's not sufficient to allow him to snowboard competitively. "Right now, it's all about loving my brain," Pearce said, "and figuring out the next path for my life."
A path, he added, that focuses on giving back.
Toward that end, he has started the Kevin Pearce Fund to support organizations that serve those affected by brain injury, Down syndrome and other challenges. The fund's first disbursement was a $10,000 gift to the Craig Hospital Foundation.
PUSH, Craig's signature fundraiser, was started by commercial Realtor Art Seiden as a means of giving thanks for the care his late wife, Julie, had received there. The 13th edition of it was chaired by FirstBank Holding Co. president John Ikard and netted $1.1 million.
Several members of Pearce's family joined him at PUSH, including his father, world-renowned glass artist Simon Pearce, his mother, Pia,and brothers Adamand David.The Pearce family lives in Vermont and is also known for operating the critically acclaimed Simon Pearce Restaurant.
Ikard and Craig's president, Mike Fordyce, welcomed a crowd that included Deputy Denver Mayor Cary Kennedy; Suzanne Arkle;University of Colorado Denver Provost Rod Nairn; Fordyce's predecessor, Denny O'Malley and his wife, Denise; attorney Jim Lyons and his wife, Marcia; George and Mary Sissel; Sally Gartand her son, John; Carol and Jim Roddy; Matt Autterson; Joe Siegel; Nancy and Steve Gittelman; Barb and Bob Page; Michael, Peter, Kathy and Sandy Burg; Susan and Dr. Ned Calonge; Trish and Ralph Nagel; Bobbi Jo and John Beeble; Betsy and Peter Mangone; and Dr. Johnny Johnson.
Joanne Davidson: 303-809-1314, firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/joannedavidson
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