A Leap of Faith, and $100,000

Coquitlam Crunch Challenge 2013

Skydiving takes courage, but never more so than for someone who has had to rebuild his life after an unplanned plummet from the sky. On Saturday August 3rd, 2013 at 3:21 pm, a determined JP Forest leaped from a plane over Abbotsford. This was JP’s first tandem jump following the 2008 plane crash that changed his life forever.

Five years earlier, at 3:21 pm, the pilot of a plane carrying seven parachutists reported an engine failure. During an emergency landing the aircraft crashed. Jean-Pierre Forest suffered internal injuries, broken vertebras, a compound fracture on his right forearm and sustained a Traumatic Brain Injury. JP was alive, but there was little hope that he would regain any semblance of a normal life as a brain injury can be life altering.

With the love of a determined brother, family and friends, JP threw himself in to rehabilitation efforts. Along the way he met fellow brain injury survivor Michael Coss. After suffering a Traumatic Brain injury in a 2006 MVA, Michael’s family was told he would never walk or talk. Since that time, Michael has become a published author, from his hospital bed Michael was the biggest individual fundraiser for the 2007 Rick Hansen Wheels in Motion campaign, has participated in two Terry Fox events and is an inspirational speaker. Michael has launched a foundation to raise funds for rehabilitation options for brain injured children and, then ‘divorced’ his wheelchair soon after winning the 2012 Courage to Come Back Award for Physical Rehabilitation. Throughout their friendship Michael and JP have supported and inspired one another. JP shares Michael’s belief that “Anything is possible, when you believe.”

On August 3, 2013, following JP’s courageous and successful jump, he thanked Michael for his friendship, support and proudly presented Michael with a cheque for $100,000 to The Michael Coss Brain Injury Foundation. Managed by the Coquitlam Foundation, this money will help Michael Coss fund Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) treatments and other non-funded medical options for children that have sustained a brain injury.

JP and Michael are local heroes; they inspire each other and the rest of us. They remind us that giving back is the most rewarding purpose in one’s life.

On Saturday, September 7, 2013 Michael invites local residents to come out for the 4th annual Coquitlam Crunch Challenge. Once told he would never walk, talk or feed himself independently again, Michael’s motto is Anything is possible, when you believe. Teaming up with Crunch Challenge founder, Alex Bell, together they will launch a new spin to the event – a way for people with mobility barriers to participate in the event. On his own path to Anything’s Possible, Michael will lead others with mobility challenges in taking on the Crunch and demonstrating yet again that everyone has something they can contribute to enhancing our community.

While the main Crunch Challenge starts at 10:00am alongside the Lacrosse Box parking lot, behind Scott Creek Middle School, Coss will arrive for 10:00am for a ‘Meet and Greet’ outside Northside Church at Lansdowne and David. Bell will hike up the trail to meet him and these two Coquitlam Foundation fundholders will officially open the ‘Path to Anything’s Possible’ at 10:30am. Using only a cane, Michael will make his way step-by-step from David, past the dog park and up to Bramblewood Elementary. Proceeds from the Crunch Challenge go to build a Community Diversity fund with the Coquitlam Foundation. Suggested donation is $20 per participant.

For details on registration, location and start times, please see www.coquitlamcrunch.com or email coquitlamcrunch@gmail.com for more information.

*Photo credits: Alex Bell

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