Pirate party to benefit Stand Strong | ParkRecord.com

Pirate party to benefit Stand Strong

ANNA BLOOM, Of the Record staff

"Your slams can catch up with you," warns the mission of Stand Strong Again.

The organization was founded in 2005, after Lars Veen, a professional skier from Norway, became paralyzed from the waist down at the age of 18. Stand Strong Again raises money for action sport athletes on the mend from life threatening and career halting injuries especially those of the spinal cord. The organization funds research as well, with the ultimate goal of finding a possible cure.

Thursday at Harry O’s, swashbucklers of the mountains are invited to help support Stand Strong Again and the Nickerson Foundation and celebrate the longest day of summer at the Pirates of the Solstice benefit costumes are required.

The Nickerson Foundation, newly formed recently by Park City skiers Ashley Hart and Shawn McLennan, and Salt Lake City resident Sean Nickerson.

We were trying to fill a need for locals without medical insurance," explained Nickerson, who serves as president of the foundation.

Originally the pirate costume party was intended for the Nickerson Foundation only, but when the three men learned about Stand Strong Again, an organization that works at an international and national level, they decided to combine forces.

Recommended Stories For You

Joe Stumpf, president of Stand Strong Again, notes that action sports have become popular in Utah and many people are affected when injured, especially young athletes.

"For professional athletes or ski instructors, an injury is almost always life-changing and hospital bills often result in bankruptcy," he said. "We’re a resource to help those action sports athletes receive treatment and recover."

According to the Christopher Reeve Foundation, about 80 percent of new SCI patients are male and the average age is 37 years old. Typically an SCI patient spends 20 days in acute care units. The Christopher Reeve Foundation states that for a paraplegia patient, the first year of rehabilitation and medical expenses average $259,531 and for a high quadriplegia patient, the average expense for a year amounts to $710,275.

Stand Strong Again shares a statistic: An estimated 11,000 spinal cord injuries (SCIs) occur every year in the United States, and many from action sports such as motocross, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding and BMX racing.

Veen, from Lillehammer, Norway, had been training preseason on Mammoth Mountain in California. According to Stand Strong Again’s Matt Sterbenz, Veen overshot the landing on a jump one day off the same park feature he had been practicing on for a week. Veen fractured his spine and underwent surgery. Stand Strong Again reports that Veen is in rehabilitation in Oslo, and often regains feeling back in his legs.

Marc Andre Belliveau, a French-Canadian free skier based in Salt Lake has also been helped by Stand Strong Again. His spinal cord was injured in an accident in British Columbia in 2006 when he fell and lost the use of both of his legs.

"I don’t think that there is anything I could do before my crash that I will not be able to do again in one way or another," Belliveau has said.

He is now focusing on his music career, according to Stumpf, and may be taking the stage Thursday night with local rock bands Junior and John from Transportation and Muddpuddle and Mepos, a band from Rhode Island.

Pirates of the Summer Solstice

Who: Powder Magazine, LevelNineSports.com, Align Spa, 3Wishes.com, Revolution Mfg. Freeskier and Snowboard Magazine staff, Skullcandy, Icelantic Skies, Flint Digital, ECT.

What: a fundraiser for the Nickerson Foundation and Stand Strong Again, nonprofit organizations that jointly help injured athletes, especially in snow sports, with financial support. Park City bands Junior and John from Transportation and Muddpuddle, and Rhode Island band Mepos will perform. Suggested donation $10 at the door. Pirate attire is mandatory.

Where: Harry O’s, 427 Main Street.

When: Thursday, June 21, beginning at 9 p.m.

More information visit http://www.standstrongagain.org