Kris and his legacy...
Kris Sanford was an outstanding athlete in high school, lettering four years in baseball, and served as captain his senior year. Kris was also a well-rounded student. He graduated with a 3.9 grade point average and was awarded the Business Sterling Scholar. This award earned him a two-year scholarship to Utah State University-College of Eastern Utah.
At 18, he packed his bags and headed for his freshman year at USU Eastern in Price, Utah. He immediately joined the Serving Utah Network (SUN) volunteer center on campus where he spent his spring break helping Native Americans rebuild fences, corrals, pathways and trim trees. He also served as the executive accountant for student government’s $82,000 budget.
On April 25th 2009, Kris and his friend were helping a friend move. They were driving in a truck in Salt Lake City late one night on rain-slick roads on I-215. The truck slid, rolled down an embankment and landed upside down. Kris was ejected out of the rear-driver-side window.
When he woke up in the hospital four days later, he received the news that he had broken C4 and C5 vertebra. Kris was also told he was no longer able to walk and that he faced a daunting recuperation and life adjustment. During his three month hospital stay, he went from barely moving his arms and having no sensation from his chest down, to being able to move his fingers and toes, as well as having pressure sensation everywhere. Now with constant therapy, he has completed his second year of college and graduated with high honors with an associate’s degree. While at USU Eastern, he also wrote for the award-winning “The Eagle” student newspaper covering men's sports.
Other hobbies Kris has started since his accident are a rock-chip repair business, training a service dog, and visits hospitals to speak with recent spinal cord injury patients. He has added many new sports to his menagerie including bobsledding, arm cycling, paragliding and swimming. In February 2012, he spoke in front of the Utah Legislature where he is an advocate for programs to help people with disabilities.
Kris’s focus now is to take his arm cycling to the next level! The current distance record for an arm cycle is 769 miles, from Salt Lake City to Huntington Beach. He is going to break this record by going from Idaho Falls to Huntington Beach , a 970 mile journey. His aim in breaking this record is to use this venture as an example that regardless of the diversity we face, it can be overcome by hard work, dedication, and the will to push forward. After peddling from Idaho Falls to Las Vegas, Kris’s long term goals are to finish college, create a family, make a good living, and take his second first step!
Written by: Susan Polster