BOSTON (AP) — The Travis Roy Foundation created in the name of a Boston University hockey player who was paralyzed 11 seconds into his first college made one of its last major gifts Friday before its closes for good next year.
The foundation is donating more than $4 million combined to two of the nation’s leading sites for treating spinal cord injuries: Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital in Boston and the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
The $2 million gift to Spaulding announced Friday will be used for the new Travis Roy Center for Enhanced Independence.
“It is bittersweet that the time has come to honor Travis’ wish to close the foundation’s doors. As part of a final tribute, we are pleased to announce this endowment to Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital,” his parents, Lee and Brenda Roy, said in a statement. “This gift assures Travis’ legacy of hope and inspiration for others will live on in perpetuity.”
The center will help those with tetraplegia due to spinal cord injury regain more independence. Tetraplegia is the inability to voluntarily move the upper and lower parts of the body.
“This funding will allow us to harness technologies in a way that will accelerate independence and improve the quality of life for so many of our patients and their families,” said Dr. Randy Trumbower, who was named exeutive director of the center.
Roy was a 20-year-old freshman making his BU debut in the 1995-96 season opener when he crashed head-first into the boards after checking a University of North Dakota opponent.
The son of a Maine hockey rink manager became a quadriplegic but went on to deliver motivational speeches, urging people to do the best with what they have and to avoid dwelling on misfortune.
He died in 2020 at age 45.
The gift to Spaulding was announced the day before the second anniversary of Roy’s death. It was Roy’s wish that the foundation, which has helped more than 2,400 people gain more independence and control over their lives, close after his death.
Created in 1997, the Travis Roy Foundation raised about $25 million — with some of the money going to research and some going to equipment to make life easier for those with spinal cord injuries. About $11 million has gone to help thousands of families buy adaptive equipment or make homes accessible, according to the foundation’s website.
This story has been corrected to reflect that the foundation is not shutting down Friday, but is winding down operations before officially closing in 2023.