Seven years ago Santa Clarita resident Andrew Skinner was snowboarding in the front yard of a cabin in Lake Arrowhead. It was Thanksgiving weekend and a Winter Wonderland.
Andrew launched off a little kicker ramp, one they’d been riding all day – that’s when he fell.
“I fell down and broke my 4th, 5th, and 6th cervical vertebrae in my neck. I became a quadriplegic,” Skinner said.
Three years ago with his wife Kirsten and family he started the Triumph Foundation to help people triumph over spinal cord injuries, and help inspire them to move forward with their lives by pushing to get better every day.
“Kind of the cornerstone of our outreach is our care basket outreach. And we go and visit people in the hospital who are newly injured and we bring care baskets to them that are full of resources. They’re almost like tool kits to help them find their way. ‘Cause no one plans ahead for an injury like this because no one dreams it could happen to them,”
Certainly, the then-24-year-old Skinner who had just graduated from Cal State Channel Islands in Camarillo hadn’t anticipated such a life-altering Thanksgiving vacation.
“I had gotten out of college, I’d landed a great job and I was on top of the world. I’d met the love of my life (Kirsten),” said Skinner.
Skinner says he was lucky to have such a supportive family and mentors who came to speak with him afterwards. The idea behind the Triumph Foundation was to pay it forward and help the next guy with injuries similar to his.
Skinner shared how he speaks with those he visits.
“Obviously, it’s a life-changing experience. But I would just try to encourage them that it’s a detour in life and not a roadblock. And try to provide empathy that we’ve gone through similar struggles and overcome similar challenges,” Skinner said.
Triumph Foundation is a non-profit who welcome volunteers and donations. You can find out more their work by clicking here.