Keeping Momentum: Changing Lives, One Athlete at a Time
Posted: Monday, April 27, 2009
The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is keeping momentum, celebrating 16 years of Changing Lives. What started as a fundraiser to help one physically challenged athlete who suffered a tragic second accident, led to the discovery of an un-met need, and its organizers soon embraced a broader mission: providing financial and emotional support through sport to a wide range of individuals with physical challenges – giving them the confidence and self-esteem that is acquired through participation in athletic and fitness activities.
Now, CAF has assisted more than 4,000 challenged athletes in the United States and around the world, and reaches more than 60,000 individuals annually through its programs and community outreach. Seven of these athletes will be participating in the 2009 Avia Wildflower Triathlon. Legendary “One-Arm” Willie Stewart, a Wildflower Triathlon veteran, will be showing his strength in both the Mountain Bike race and Olympic Distance. Scout Bassett, 2007 ITU Silver Medalist in the women’s above-the-knee amputee category, will be back again, competing in the Olympic relay run. Tri-Cal event veteran and above-the-knee amputee, Sarah Reinertsen, will competing in the Olympic Relay Swim and Bike. While Survivor star Chad Crittenden, a below-the-knee amputee, will be making a return appearance this year, competing in both the Mountain Bike race and Olympic Relay Swim.
New Wildflower competitor and above-the knee amputee, Travis Ricks, will be competing in the Olympic Relay Bike. “I have heard so many great things about this event,” said Ricks, “I am really looking forward to seeing all of the challenged athletes and supporters out there.”
Also new this year will be Warren Frank, a below-the-knee amputee, competing in the Olympic Relay Run as well as 2004 and 2008 Paralympic champion (200m IM) and double above-the-knee amputee, Rudy Garcia – Tolson, racing the long course.
Making it to the starting line can sometimes be the most difficult part for a challenged athlete. With the fundraising and support that CAF receives from the triathlon community and beyond, more challenged athletes, like the seven you will see participating at Wildflower, are making it to their goal of the finish line. Thanks to everyone’s continued support and for keeping the momentum at pace that so many can benefit from. To learn how to get involved, stop by the CAF booth during the event or visit www.challengedathletes.org.