Community steps up for Nikya |

Community steps up for Nikya

Beth Minneci

The Aspen-area community continues to rally for paralyzed snowboarder Nikya Grant, the 22-year-old Aspen man struggling with treatment in a Denver hospital.Grant was paralyzed from the shoulders down in a Feb. 18 snowboarding accident at Snowmass. He had no health insurance.Two events are scheduled at local restaurants on March 22, Grant’s 23rd birthday, to raise funds on his behalf.And tomorrow, Aspen High School students and staff are dedicating proceeds from their annual Ski Day fund-raiser to Grant, an alumnus who played baseball and soccer for the school.Grant’s friends describe him as a gregarious, athletic person.”It’s really sad what happened, but we’re really glad that we’re doing something for him,” said senior Lindsey Dickinson.Last Wednesday, Grant was moved from St. Anthony Central Hospital to Craig Rehabilitation Hospital, where he will stay until at least October. One of his lungs collapsed Friday, but recovered yesterday, said his father, Bernie Grant.Doctors won’t know Grant’s chances for recovery until next month, when the swelling around his spinal cord is expected go down.”All we’re doing right now is leaving him in God’s hands, and God will take care of him,” Bernie Grant said.The elder Grant drives to Denver each weekend to visit his son. Nikya’s mother quit her job with a local insurance company to stay by her son’s side.Visitors report that Grant appears positive about the future.All the cards, donations and visits to Denver have helped boost Grant’s spirits, his father said. But his condition has recently become daunting to him.”His spirits are kind of down,” Bernie Grant said. “He’s missing his friends and I think reality is setting in.”Meanwhile, the community that has already raised several thousand dollars is maintaining its momentum for Grant’s cause.On the Student Senate-sponsored Ski Day, money collected from $10 entry fees each year goes to a charity or cause. This year, the students picked Nikya as the recipient.Bumps restaurant at Buttermilk and the Howling Wolf are each donating proceeds from parties scheduled March 22.Frederick Alderfer, one of Grant’s relatives who is helping raise funds, said that about $25,000 has been raised so far.Goodfellows Pizzeria & Deli in Snowmass, where Grant worked, gave him the proceeds from an entire day’s sales last month.And a poster about Grant’s plight, hung in a business’s window, drew one $10,000 donation – from a Southern California man who had just bought a home in Aspen.”It’s just tremendous,” Alderfer said.Donations to the Nikya Grant Fund can be made at any Alpine Bank.

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