Community rallying around Kailyn Forsberg | VailDaily.com

Community rallying around Kailyn Forsberg

EAGLE COUNTY — Kailyn Forsberg has had all kinds of emotional support, for which she is grateful.

Your work isn't through, though.

The community is again rallying around the Forsberg family, this time to begin helping them deal with an avalanche of medical bills that followed Kailyn's spinal injury last spring.

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund is hosting a benefit Friday in Eagle's Brush Creek Pavilion.

The High Fives Foundation's golf tournament and dinner is scheduled for Tuesday at the Vail Golf Club.

Kailyn injured her spine when she crashed warming up for a national championship slopestyle event at Copper Mountain. For now, she's paralyzed from her chest down.

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Tough and caring

Kailyn, 15, is an Eagle Valley High School student. Her father, Mitch, is principal of Gypsum Elementary School.

She's driven to remarkable degrees. She was walking at 9 months and on skis at 1 year old.

The same drive that made her one of the nation's top young freeskiers, she is now applying to her rehab.

"She's a sweet, caring, feisty mountain girl who is a lot of fun to be around and is one of the toughest kids we know," Mitch said.

Mitch runs his school (he was named Colorado's Principal of the Year), looks after his family and tries not to think about the medical bills.

They're always there, though, and they keep growing.

The medical bills are expected to top seven figures, and insurance won't cover it all.

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund and the High Fives Foundation are trying to help him get ahead of the curve.

"It's something for which we are so thankful," Mitch said.

The Vail Valley Charitable Fund helps locals who live and work in the valley, and who have financial needs due to a medical crisis or long-term illness.

High Fives Foundation

High Fives Foundation provides support to injured winter sports enthusiasts, as well as education about injury prevention.

Roy Tuscany founded the organization in 2009 and knows exactly what this is like. He graduated from the University of Vermont with a degree in mechanical engineering and headed west to become a professional freeskier. An injury left him paralyzed from the waist down and was the catalyst to found High Fives.

"I've had to make adaptations to my life and my activities. Things will never be the same, but things will still be awesome," Tuscany said.

Tuesday's Vail event is their third golf tournament this year and their first ever in Colorado. The goal is five marquee events in Colorado each year.

Three Colorado athletes they're helping, including Kailyn and her family, will be there Tuesday. The golf tournament is sold out, but tickets are still available for dinner.

By the way, they refer to everyone they work with as "athletes," which is good.

What happened to Kailyn

On April 7, Kailyn was competing in the USASA National Free Skiing Championship at Copper Mountain.

She finished second in two disciplines the previous days. She was warming up for the slopestyle when she over-rotated an aerial and took a horrific fall.

Among her injuries were a broken pelvis, dislocated hip and a fracture of her C-7 vertebrae.

She was air lifted to Children's Hospital in Aurora. For now, from the chest down she has no motor movement and minimal feeling.

"We are all hoping and praying for recovery, and at the same time know Kailyn's long-term struggle has just begun," said Michelle Maloney, with the Vail Valley Charitable Fund.

A High Fives intern was competing with Kailyn at Copper Mountain, and they reached out almost immediately.

"The Forsbergs are powerful people, and Kailyn is determined and spunky," Tuscany said.

Staff Writer Randy Wyrick can be reached at 970-748-2935 and rwyrick@vaildaily.com.

If you go

What: Caring for Kailyn Forsberg Benefit

When: 5-9:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Brush Creek Pavilion, Eagle

Cost: $25 ticket includes food and one drink ticket.

Information: Silent auction and cash bar open throughout the evening. Go to VVCF.org

To contribute

To help, contribute through the Vail Valley Charitable Fund at vvcf.org, or online at http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/care-for-kailyn-forsberg-/335528#.VSdHE17KcBw.email

You may send cards of good wishes to Kailyn and her family c/o Gypsum Elementary School, PO Box 570 Gypsum, CO 81637.

High Fives Foundation

What: Benefit golf tournament and dinner

When: Tuesday, The party starts around 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner

Where: Vail golf club

Cost: $30 for dinner. Buy tickets at the door, or online at highfivesfoundation.org. The golf tournament is sold out, but dinner tickets are still available.