Henrietta Man Dedicated to Helping Those with Spinal-Cord Injuries

June 16, 2000

When Travis Roy crashed into the boards and was paralyzed during his first collegiate hockey game in 1995, the plight of the Boston University freshman caught the attention of Steve Skrubis.

Skrubis, of Henrietta, played professional hockey in the early 1980s in the Hartford Whalers' farm system. When he learned of Roy's widely publicized injury, he decided to support the young athlete, and help local people with spinal-cord injuries.

To that end, Skrubis founded a local chapter of the Travis Roy Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the lives of those with spinal-cord injuries. Since then, he's been the driving force behind the annual Travis Roy Golf Tournament and Auction.

Last year, he contacted more than 450 celebrities, athletes, and organizations in search of donations to support his worthy cause. During the last three years, the golf tournaments and auctions have raised more than $38,000.

Skrubis sends all of the proceeds to the Travis Roy Foundation in Boston. The foundation keeps half of the money and - through grant applications - redistributes a large portion back to the Rochester community. Skrubis recently received a check for $8,000, payable to the University of Rochester Spinal Cord Injury Center at Strong Memorial Hospital.

"When I first got the idea to help, I just wanted to join forces with a few of my friends and send Travis Roy's family a small check," Skrubis says. "But this has become something bigger than that, and it's helping so many people."

More than 10,000 people nationwide suffer spinal-cord injuries each year, and many are treated at Strong Memorial Hospital. That's why Skrubis' efforts to raise money - and awareness - are so important, says Leif Pederson, of the hospital's Spinal Cord Injury Center.

"The money raised through the Travis Roy Golf Tournament and Auction is extremely important in our effort to help people with spinal-cord injuries," Pederson says. "The funds give an invaluable assist to those who need it, people who are focused on dealing with their injuries and working their way back into the community."

Skrubis is organizing the third annual Travis Roy Foundation Golf Tournament and Auction, to be held Monday, Aug. 21, at Shadow Lake Golf Club in Penfield. The auction will be held during a dinner fund-raiser on the evening of Aug. 21. For more information, call 742-6611.

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