Testimonials

Hear from other alpine professionals who have received financial support from the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation.


  • Phurba Namgyal Sherpa

    "Without Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation’s help I wouldn’t have got my knee treated at Steadman Clinic. I got the surgery very soon after my injury. Helping my accommodation and flights beside medical expenses has helped me a lot. I would have never paid myself and I had problem with my insurance company. I didn’t find a word to explain the Foundations help and thank for it. I am so lucky to get back to my profession. Hope to finish my ski education in the future."
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  • Joanna Morello

    "I cannot express how much I appreciate the help I have received from the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. I tore my ACL and was not sure when I would be able to return to ski instructing. The foundation gave me the financial support I needed to have knee surgery and paid for my rehabilitation. Without this support I would not be able to do what I love again so soon after my injury. This foundation is truly one of a kind, I am so thankful for what they have done for me."
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  • Vicky Price

    "Having the funding and support of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has benefited me immeasurably. Without it I would have had to have my surgery through the NHS (National Health Service) where the waitlist was roughly 18 weeks, meaning that my knee would have deteriorated further and my return to work/skiing would be greatly delayed. I would also have to have had the hamstring graft which I really felt was not right for me and carried greater risks for returning to skiing."
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  • Kathy Prophet

    "If something seems too good to be true, it usually is, well, this may be the one exception! From the moment I heard about the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation from The Steadman Clinic and all the way through to post surgery and rehabilitation I have received exceptional medical treatment. This included an excellent level of communication and accessibility from the Steadman Clinic staff. The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation was always available and eager to answer questions and their attention to detail allowed for a speedy resolution. It ís hard to adequately express my gratitude for the incredible opportunity I was provided. I will always be grateful to the KBF for the generosity and support that I received."
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  • Rachel Hall

    "As with all of the candidates from the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, I am eternally grateful for the opportunity they have provided me. Special thanks to the staff of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, who helped me through every step and is still at the other end of an email if I need anything!"
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  • Peter Novom

    "When I injured my ACL two years ago I simply assumed that I would have to find a way to live with my injuries and perhaps not continue my path as a ski instructor. I am forever grateful for everything the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has helped me accomplish with their financial support."
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  • Evan Stevens

    "I don’t know if I would be where I am right now without the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. As a high level mountain guide and athlete, I was actively seeking out the best possible care and the KBF made this totally possible. For the first week after my injury, I literally spent every hour of the business day making phone calls trying to get into see a surgeon in Canada to start the process. Although it is wonderful that we have public health care in Canada, it doesn’t come without its flaws, and a non-essential/elective surgery like an ACL repair is one of the systems flaws. It took me a week straight of phone calls to even get the surgeon I wanted to repair my knee in Canada to answer the phone to tell me that it would be 3 weeks before I could even get an appointment to see the surgeon and probably 12 weeks before I could get surgery. In my mind the clock was ticking if I wanted to return to my career at full strength as soon as possible. During this time I received word that the KBF was going to support me and it was like the magical mystery doors all opened wide. I had an appointment with the surgeon in less than 2 weeks, and not just any surgeon, one of the best in the business, better than any care I would have received in Canada. All of the frustration and despair was instantly turned the other direction. "
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  • Josh Smith

    "What the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation did for me was nothing short of a miracle! Even as I write this, I shake my head as I think about the level of care I received and the generosity of the Brenninkmeyer family."
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  • Jim Greene

    "Although I had my own insurance, the foundation covered all of my deductible and out of pocket expenses, as well as all of the surgical procedure costs that insurance didn’t cover. They also paid for my travel and lodging costs and extensive physical therapy. The foundation stepped in to help me at a time where my injury could have cost me my career yet I couldn’t afford to pay the extensive expenses on my own. I am forever grateful to the foundation for enabling me to continue ski patrolling and for the expert care I received at The Steadman Clinic from a top surgeon in his field. I was fast tracked into all of my appointments and the surgery itself. The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation provided me with exceptional service during a difficult time in my life. Thank you to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation!!"
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  • Tara Butson

    "The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation is amazing and I do not have words for the generosity that was shown to me in such a difficult time. I needed two surgeries to repair my knee, and the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation provided access to the very best surgeons and physical therapists available to permit a limitless career return. I am able to guide again after enduring an injury I was sure would end my career and life as I knew it. I even considered selling our guide service to pay for the surgeries. I am able to resume guiding thanks to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation."
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  • Matthew Busenhart

    "I stayed focused on recovery with the goal of working race patrol for the 2015 World Championships. I have been on the race crew for the Birds of Prey since 2005. When I learned that Beaver Creek and Vail would be hosting the World Championships I knew I wanted to be part of the team. My injury put that in jeopardy but thanks to the help from the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, I was able to recover from my surgery and get back on skis in time for the races. There is no way this would have been possible without the surgery and the physical therapy that the foundation covered. My insurance only covered 15 sessions of therapy and my doctor prescribed 3-5 sessions a week for a year. I am very grateful for the support of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation that allowed me to complete the rehab necessary to get back to work. "
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  • Keith Garvey (2nd Injury)

    "I have had two surgeries in the last two years and thanks to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation I have had remarkable care. Being a professional mountain guide and relying on my body for work it was of great importance to have a surgeon that understood my profession. When I tore my meniscus in Europe, the foundation immediately responded and in within days I had an appointment with a knee specialist at The Steadman Clinic. From the start of the process of surgery to physical therapy afterward, the foundation assisted me with questions, financial support, organization of appointments and transportation. The foundation staff is an incredible asset to this organization. Throughout both my procedures, they were professional, prompt, friendly and worked tirelessly to make both my experiences seamless. I am so grateful for all the Foundation has done for me, and their commitment to assisting outdoor professionals around the world."
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  • Marc Dube

    "I am extremely grateful to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation for all of their support and the manner in which everything was handled. The level of treatment and care provided by everyone involved in my case was exceptional. I could not have asked for anything better. Sustaining an injury that requires surgery can certainly present challenges above and beyond what we all experience in daily life, however, I was able to receive treatment very quickly and return to work in a very short period of time. The entire experience and positive outcome, has had a major impact on my life going forward and I can’t thank you enough. "
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  • Charlie Stumm

    "The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation provided me with the assistance I needed in a very tough time. The support they offered covered everything from pre-operative to post-operative and made a very difficult situation go seamlessly smooth. With their help, I was able to focus on my recovery and my career. I can’t thank them enough. "
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  • Seth Waterfall

    "The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation made it possible for me to undergo this medical procedure with the ability to know that the financial security of my family would remain intact. Before I applied to the foundation I had put the surgery off and denied the severity of the symptoms due to the financial burden that undergoing the treatment would bring. I am forever grateful to the Foundation, the Board Members and especially the staff for being supportive, kind and encouraging throughout the process. "
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  • Steve Banks

    "Although I have personal health insurance, the out of pocket expenses, time away from guiding and level of physical therapy I needed created quite a financial burden. With the help of the KBF, I was able to focus on my recovery and not worry about the financials as much. I am extremely lucky to have a very experienced and talented Certified Hand Therapist in my town (and she’s a climber!) who continues to help me regain my strength and mobility in my hand. Without the KBF I would have been limited to much less PT than what I need to regain strength and mobility and get back to my guiding. "
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  • Donny (Donald Duck) Nieters

    "I am forever grateful for the kind folks at the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation and their generosity. I was at a point where I wasn’t sure I could continue down the not so lucrative yet incredibly rewarding path I was/am on for the past 29 years. My passion for snow sports instructing and rafting and kayaking was on the line. The KBF covered my deductibles, copays, prescriptions, P.T., anything my insurance didn’t cover and also the foundation staff arranged for me to use the “Game Ready Cold Therapy Compression Device” during my recovery, all of which would not have been possible on my own. Thanks to the KBF I am back to what I love without skipping a beat…"
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  • Mikey Hovey

    "I thought I was just going to have to suck it up and deal with the pain. But with Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation’s help that all changed. With the screws gone I no longer have nausea inducing vibrations that would run through my leg. With extensive, intensive therapy we were able to reduce scar tissue, reestablish mobility and stability and I now feel that I am a better athlete than I have ever been. The enjoyment of the rehab process coupled with everything I learned has inspired me to add physical training as a form of injury prevention and rehabilitation to my resume. "
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  • Emilie Drinkwater

    "As a full-time mountain guide, I’ve lived life on the financial edge for as long as I can remember, always thinking I’d get ahead eventually. Becoming a fully certified (IFMGA) mountain guide was one of the best career choices I’ve made, though it put me in significant debt. The moment I injured my knee I knew I was in trouble as I was looking at a minimum of 6 months without work (and the reality has actually been 9 months out of work). Thanks to my husband’s job I do have health insurance but I’m grateful that the KBF stepped in to cover all of my deductible, out-of -pocket expenses, and 6 months of physical therapy — not insignificant expenses! Without this invaluable assistance, I would have been forced into even greater debt and likely would have had to reconsider my career as a guide. The existence of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation is a huge beacon of light for those of us who end up injured in a career that demands a healthy body but often at a wage that doesn’t allow room for error. "
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  • Mark Allen

    "If it were not for the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, I would not be in this industry today as a guide."
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  • Matthew Biddle

    "I learned of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation shortly after my fusion surgery. After meeting with a foundation representative, we decided there was potential for the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation to extend a helping hand to me in terms of my recovery. Thankfully I was accepted into their program and have been able, with their help, to engage in a consistent physical/mechanical therapy routine. The benefits have been exceptional. With their financial help and help locating appropriate physical therapy centers I have been able to regularly (weekly) attend PT sessions. It has been 9 months since my fusion surgery and I am moving better and feeling stronger every day. The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has enabled me to approach my recovery confidently without the accompanying financial stress that comes with balancing healthcare costs on a guide’s wage. Just knowing there is a support network that works efficiently to ensure I receive the appropriate care and financial assistance is an incredible relief. The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has been my support network and their generous support has helped me return to my pre-injury health. I will be guiding again soon."
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  • Annie Forbes

    "I believe you should do what makes you happy and when possible you should live your passion. It was heartbreaking to find myself sidelined by an injury at the beginning of the season (it was only my second day on snow), unable to teach, ski or complete my level three certification, a goal I had been working towards. The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation is amazing and the support I received, from the start of my application all the way through to surgery and rehabilitation has been outstanding. I will never fully be able to express my gratitude for the amazing gift this foundation has given me and the exceptional care I received through The Steadman Clinic. Nine months later I am back on snow, feeling great and living my passion."
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  • Andy Lapkass

    "Because my wife and I have always lived in what could be considered a “fiscally responsible” lifestyle – always maintaining adequate health insurance and an emergency fund – we probably could have seen our way through covering medical and prescription costs during the period when I was recovering. However, knowing the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation was there backing us up made a huge difference in relieving the amount of stress we felt around the surgery. We were able to put all our energy into both preparing for surgery and then regaining full recovery in the shortest amount of time. Though the financial support we received was tremendous, what was most important about the KBF were the “background intangibles.” My soul has been refreshed to know there are people and groups out there that truly care about other human beings. Sometimes with the way today's news is, we forget that there's a lot of good and that great and wonderful things happen in the world too. The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation completely fits that role. That more than anything has made me want to be more compassionate, to give back more, to be the best person I can be. I know those are all cliches, but they're true. The KBF gave me so much more than just a new hip. You are all super stars!!"
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  • Reggie Crist

    "I feel fortunate to have had the opportunity to work with the best medical staff in the world and I'm grateful that the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation made it all possible!"
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  • Karin Kean

    "After a frustrating 2.5 year odyssey through medical treatment, countless therapies and the related costs following an injury while ski patrolling in Switzerland, I finally came to the right place, the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. Without their financial and generous individual support, I would have had to end my career as an outdoor athlete and professional, and resign to a lifestyle I dreaded. My gratitude to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation and the medical support group at the Steadman Clinic is far beyond any words. Months after surgery I can tell you I am far better off than ever since my accident. Once again, I am looking forward to a balanced, well-rounded life and career in sync with the natural environment-what a gift!"
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  • Bradford LaRiviere

    "I recently tore the ACL and meniscus in my left knee while skiing on my day off. After the accident, my patrol coworkers passed around a helmet during the morning meeting seeking donations to help pay for my surgery. Needless to say, the fund was quite a few dollars short of the going rate for knee surgery. Several days later, while still recovering from the initial injury, the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation came up in conversation with some volunteer patrollers. I quickly located the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation website and requested application materials. Within a few hours I had the application packet emailed to me and I raced to fill it out. Shortly after, I was contacted by the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation and told they would like to fund my knee surgery and all other rehabilitative aspects of this process. I was told I would receive funding on a Tuesday, was flown to Vail, C.O. on Thursday and had my surgery that Friday. It was really astonishing how fast the whole process went, start to finish in under a week. I had my surgery at the Steadman Clinic in Vail Colorado. Under the guidance of a Steadman team I opted to graft a portion of my own patellar ligament as my new ACL and chose to save as much of my damaged meniscus as possible and suture the multiple pieces back together. Since the surgery I have been able to attend physical therapy on almost a daily basis, which has contributed immensely to the fast and strong recovery of my reconstructed knee. Without the funding and support of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation my career as a professional ski patroller would have come to a very abrupt end. Thanks to their help I will be back on my skis this winter for another season."
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  • Barrett Johnson

    "The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation subsidized the gaps in my company provided health insurance. Without their financial support, the out of pocket expense of my hernia surgery would have been catastrophic to my meager lifestyle. The foundation personally saw to it that every need was met during the complicated process of medical billing and expenses. They were able to anticipate and intercept most every interaction I had with the Hospital Billing Department. I was able to experience the care and professionalism that we as Breckenridge Ski Patrollers strive for every day. I am reminded daily how fortunate I am to have found my life's work as a Patroller and am grateful for the intervention of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation for getting me back to the work I love."
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  • Deborah Epifanio

    "I cannot thank the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation enough! With the foundations very generous assistance, I was able to have the best medical care at Porter Hospital, Vail Valley Medical Center, and Honda Physical Therapy. I was able to focus on my recovery without the stress of the medical expenses. I'm extremely grateful and appreciative for the help and support of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation and look forward to resuming my career of teaching skiing."
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  • Luke Ochs

    "Simply put, The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation saved my career. By hurting myself outside of work, I, in turn, took on all of the liabilities of injury. I could not work, collect compensations, or even pay the costly prices of surgery. I began to prepare myself for a career change and a potential move away from my mountain life. As soon as I contacted the foundation, the ball began to roll in a very positive direction. I received the highest quality of surgical care, physical therapy and continued check-ups - all at NO COST. I cannot emphasize enough how much the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has done for me. Instead of disaster, I encountered a blessing and I'll never forget how I have been given a second chance to follow my dreams."
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  • Jan Degerberg

    "It is hard to describe what it feels like to face what could be the end of a dream, career and potentially an entire lifestyle. If you are sitting reading this, I am sorry you are hurt; but let me tell you, you have found the right people that can help you through it. I've been given a gift that is a blessing and more importantly a second chance to further my career and love for skiing. The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation changed my life, they believed in what my hopes and dreams are and have given me the chance to continue my journey. Incredible, unbelievable, beyond what I truly comprehended, I cannot put into words what this foundation has given me. "
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  • Viren Perumal

    "If not for the foundation I would not have been able to receive the care that I did from the orthopedist that has done more of these specialty surgeries than anyone else. Even though I had insurance they would not cover much of this treatment as it was out of network and the insurance hoops are daunting. I had put off getting my treatment done for years and have guided with pain and tightness….the foundation gave me the ability to get things taken care of and prevented me from having further damage that could have resulted in a full hip replacement."
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  • Meg Nelson

    "Without the help of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, I wouldn't have been able to continue doing what I love."
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  • Wesley Bunch

    "Without the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation my life as a mountaineering guide would not be possible. I cannot thank you enough!"
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  • Keith Garvey

    "I’m not sure I could have done this without the help from the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. Surgery, even with insurance is a very costly endeavor. To have access to the best doctors in their field was a dream come true. The care and attention to detail the Steadman Clinic provided was world class and the financial support provided by the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation made it all possible. Though I had insurance, with my high deductible and all the peripheral costs of hotel rooms, travel expenses, and physical therapy, I don’t think I could have done it. For that, I can’t thank the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation enough for getting me back on my feet and into the mountains! "
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  • Emily Heikkinen

    "I am so grateful for the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. With your assistance, I was able to put 100% into my recovery. The PT's at Howard Head Physical Therapy are world-class. Their care and support for my recovery was top notch. Thank you to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation for all the support in getting me back on my feet. As each day goes by that I am on my ski's, I will always remember what you did for me and what you do for others."
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  • Kent Pederson

    "I now have a pain free ski season that I had not considered possible before thanks to the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation's help. Thanks so much!!"
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  • Rob Gowler

    "As a recipient I can tell you that it IS true and there are absolutely no strings attached. When they say that they will pay for 100% of the surgery and all associated costs they mean it. I went to physical therapy everyday for the first 2 + months and they covered that no problem. I continue to go to PT as often as the doc recommends. I was put up for a week post surgery in Vail until I was ready to drive back home. I have switched locations a couple of times since my surgery and had to reschedule different therapists and they are fine with that too. Their only goal is to do what is best for the patients at any expense. Without the help from the foundation I can say with certainty that I would not be looking nearly as good as I do for a prompt return at 100%. All I can say is Thank You for all of your help!"
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  • Forrest McCarthy

    "The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation provided financial assistance and access to the world-class orthopedic surgeons at The Steadman Clinic. Thanks to The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, Teton Hand Therapy and my wife I now have an elbow that is working better than it has in thirty-six years."
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  • Renny Jackson

    "I believe that the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation made my return to the work that I love possible by facilitating my surgery at the Steadman Clinic and by getting me started immediately with physical therapy. I would highly recommend The Steadman Clinic to anyone who is anticipating orthopedic surgery of this type. I would like to thank everyone who was involved during my stay in Vail including: the staff at the Vail Resort Hotel; all of the folks at the Steadman Clinic; all of the folks in the physical therapy department; and The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation whose help and support made it all possible. It was an incredible experience! "
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  • Daniel McGarry

    "The foundation is amazing! My MRI, pre and post operation visits, the surgery, the rehab and even covering an ice machine-which was my best friend right after surgery-was all covered. I didn't see a single bill and everything was hassle free. Without the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation, I would not have a future in guiding. "
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  • David “Dogger” Hidalgo

    "I can’t thank the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation enough! I was struggling with the idea that I would have to give up my passion in the ski instruction profession due to the pain in both knees and not having any insurance at the time. Thanks to a friend, Jerry Berg, I was put in touch with the foundation. Never in my wildest dreams did I think they would cover the expense of the entire operation and recovery therapy! The staffs at the Steadman Clinic, Joint Replacement Center, and Porter Hospital were exceptional. I will always be extremely thankful for this blessing awarded me. "
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  • Cavan Havlik

    "The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has gone above and beyond for me. I cant explain in words what a difference this has made in my life. At 28 years old I could not ski let alone pursue a career in that field. The foundation has given me the oppertunity to continue what I love to do and to pursue a career in the ski industry. Without them my skiing days would be limited. I am so grateful that I can continue to ski and pursue something I am passionate about. Every day I ski will be because of them and I will never forget their gift."
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  • Lowell Hart

    "KBF support has helped immeasurably through two knee surgeries and rehab. The doctors are world-class and the staff at Howard Head knowledgeable and helpful. The Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation has been exceptional: attentive, caring, and always available to help with any questions. I’m extremely grateful and appreciative for KBF help and support and look forward to resuming my career in snowsports instruction and guiding."
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  • ReCe Chilton

    "It is because of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation that I have been able to have the best medical care and rehabilitation. I am a single mom and I would have had to find a full time desk job to pay my mortgage and support my daughter. In that scenario my knees would get stuck without flexion again and it would be very difficult for me to return to teaching. Also, I could have possibly lost my home due to medical debt. Putting my recovery first will allow me to recover to the best possible shape. I am looking forward to a life without constant pain with knees that will bend so that I can ride a bike again. (I haven’t been able to pedal a bike in recent years and I love to bike.) I will be able to walk down stairs one foot after another and possibly be able to run a bit. These are gifts without measure and they would not have been possible without the help of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation. I am forever grateful. Thank you!"
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  • Marc Harrison

    "I was able to have the procedure and resultant physical therapy due to the generosity of the Kees Brenninkmeyer Foundation."
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