Powered By Women: Bridging Bionics – Amanda Boxtel

The 2023 Discover Basalt magazine featured of several women-owned and operated businesses that make Basalt special. Below is the full version of one of these “Powered By Women” profiles.

Bridging Bionics Foundation (BBF) was founded and is run by Amanda Boxtel. The organization is known for help individuals who have mobility impairments to regain motility with the assistance of advanced technologies in neuromuscular training systems.

Photo by Summers Moore.

In 1992, Amanda Boxtel shattered four vertebrae while downhill skiing, leaving her paralyzed from the pelvis down. In 2015, after more than two decades of paralysis, she founded Bridging Bionics Foundation (BBF) and is the Executive Director.

What is Bridging Bionic Foundation’s success story?

After thirty-one years of paralysis and seeking the best quality of life, I know how important it is for the neuromuscular system to stay active. My experiences convinced me that the opportunity to regain mobility and walk should be seen as a human right. Every person deserves access to innovative technology to enjoy a better quality of life. In October 2015, Bridging Bionics Foundation officially launched its local Mobility Program for Roaring Fork Valley residents. The goal is to provide access to cutting-edge robotic technology, which is typically cost-prohibitive, enhancing neuro-recovery and quality of life for any individual with a neurological mobility challenge.

Each year, BBF is able to gift more therapeutic mobility sessions than previous years. Since being founded, 14,454 physical therapy sessions have been gifted, over $3 million has been invested in direct programming support and over 300 athletes and their families have been served in the Roaring Fork Valley. 

What is it like running a nonprofit? 

One of the most fulfilling aspects of this entire initiative is to see that locals from the valley participate for next-to-nothing. Our program is fully funded through community support and donations to BBF, which can also be the most challenging aspect – meeting an annual budget to fulfill the mission. We pride ourselves on truly giving the gift of mobility. As a woman running this organization, I do know that my voice is heard, yet it’s mostly from living a life of authenticity and walking my talk. I try to empower our team, and I am continually educating myself to serve as a better leader and community role model. I’ve learned that cultivating and nurturing relationships is critical to our success, along with financial accountability and transparency, so we can operate responsibility with mission-focused spending.

Why did you choose to operate in the Roaring Fork Valley? 

Ever since I was paralyzed on Snowmass Mountain in 1992, our community has believed in and supported me. If you imagine it; dream it; speak your truth with love, integrity and conviction; and do something that serves humanity and brings healing to the lives of others, our community will back you. I’ve been able to accomplish everything I’ve set my mind to because of the support from our community and their belief in me. Adversity introduced me to myself and helped me realize my potential. Our community has helped me get there, encouraging me every step, glide and push of the way.

What do you love most about Basalt? 

I especially love living in the downtown core. We are a small town that still prides itself on having  a sense of community. I pray it remains so. The rivers are our life-force, ever constant and ever changing. Being able to walk my dog across the street in nature infuses both of us with life.

What is the impact of local support on your organization?

Any support from our local community towards Bridging Bionics – from fundraising to the financial aspect (We bank locally) to local business support – is visibly evident in the positive gains in the lives of our athletes who have neurological conditions. We bridge the community by giving back to our locals. Uplifting testimonials from our local athletes speak to the life-changing impact the program continues to have on their social, emotional and physical wellbeing.

What is your hope for the future of the nonprofit and Basalt?

Top of our goals to accomplish is a more permanent future home in the midvalley. BBF has the potential to realize a greater vision of making healing therapies affordable with accessible, advanced technologies so that every person with a neurological mobility impairment has a chance at neuro-recovery and a better quality of life. A permanent world-class facility that encompasses our model for inclusivity will become a community benefit that is unique and will serve our growing population of individuals with neurological conditions.