Andrew Weibrecht pushes it to the limit for charity
Lake Placid’s two-time Olympic Super G medalist pedals 92 miles for Kelly Brush Foundation
LAKE PLACID — At a collegiate ski carnival in 2006, the life of Kelly Brush changed forever. The lives of countless others also changed on that day.
Skiing for Middlebury College, Brush suffered a debilitating spill as she crested a knoll at Jiminy Peak in Massachusetts. She caught a ski edge, spun backward and crashed into a lift tower. A broken back and broken ribs were accompanied by a spinal cord injury that left her wheel-chair confined, but it didn’t restrict her energy and desire to help others who are similarly afflicted.
Through her Kelly Brush Foundation, she has dedicated her life to raise awareness for the injured and money to address skier safety.
A Vermont native, Brush was an athlete who trained at the Green Mountain Valley School. She met Lake Placid’s Andrew Weibrecht, a product of the New York Ski Educational Foundation, on the eastern ski racing circuit.
This past weekend, at the Kelly Brush Ride to raise needed funding for her causes, Weibrecht, an Olympic silver and bronze medalist in alpine skiing’s super G, clicked into his bike and pedaled 92 miles around the Olympic Region, climbing 12,000 feet, as part of the fundraising effort that started with temps below freezing.
Money raised by Weibrecht will benefit NYSEF sports programs and the Kelly Brush Foundation.
“It was really quite physically challenging. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done,” said the former ski racer who won bronze in Vancouver in 2010 and silver in Sochi four years later.
The 2020 Kelly Brush Ride started Sept. 12 and runs through the end of the month. To date, those successful efforts are approaching $600,000 after establishing a goal of $500,000. As of Sept. 23, Weibrecht’s ride has generated more than $3,400.
The over-arching goal of the KBF is to inspire and help those living with paralysis find independence and freedom. Brush sets a prime example as a pediatric nurse practitioner, mother, skier, golfer and biker.
Weibrecht’s participation in the Kelly Brush Ride is in keeping with his willingness to give back after retiring from competitive racing in the spring of 2018. Yet this endeavor pushed him to the limit.
“Definitely doing it for charity and having people support me helped me get through,” he said. “I had a really hard time five hours into it. I was struggling and was starting to feel really poor. But I got a sandwich and some gummy stuff and was able to pull it back and felt really good until about 10 hours. From there to the end (13 hours) was a struggle for a bit, but the last hour wasn’t too bad other than it was getting dark.”
The Mirror Lake Inn ambassador — his parents own the resort — is also actively involved with the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Northeastern New York as a board member, and as an ambassador for the Double H Ranch in Lake Luzerne, which assists children worldwide who are dealing with life threatening illnesses.