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Brain injury survivors aim to defy the odds climbing Pikes Peak

© Pixabay - Teresa Johnson
Eric Galatas

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(Colorado News Connection) Several hundred hikers are expected to climb to a summit of over 14,000 feet for this year's Pikes Peak Challenge in Colorado Springs, an annual event that supports people whose lives have been impacted by brain injury.

Zach Hudson, development director with the Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado, said participants can choose a summit that fits their skill level. Some will hike up halfway to Barr Camp, and others will walk several miles around Manitou Springs.

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"All of the money raised goes toward supporting Coloradans and their loved ones, families, friends and professionals who are living with brain injury and have been affected by brain injury in some way," Hudson said.

The challenge started nearly 40 years ago as a "Walk Through the Clouds" when six hikers made it to the summit of Pikes Peak. Hudson said many brain injury survivors and their families participate to defy the odds and accomplish something they've been told they'd never do.

The all-ages event is set for Saturday, Sept. 7, and registration is now open at ''

There are over 500,000 Coloradans living with a brain injury, and Hudson explained the challenge helps people across the state access free services. The Brain Injury Alliance of Colorado offers art classes, music therapy, resource navigation and support groups. It also organizes adaptive skiing and snowboarding in the winter, and hiking, fishing and other activities in the summer.

"Our mission is to make sure that all people with a brain injury are able to thrive in their communities and get connected to the resources that they need," he continued.

The alliance has also started offering permanent supportive housing in Denver to address the link between brain injury and homelessness. Hudson said the Pikes Peak Challenge is the organization's largest annual fundraiser.

"And then afterwards, the party in the park is a great way to come together with the community, meet other people, mingle with participants, have a nice meal, enjoy some music and a nice beautiful day in the park," he explained.