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Challenged Athletes Foundation 2020 Community Challenge Presented by Vega Gains Momentum Going into Back Half

September 16, 2020

Community rallies around virtual fundraising and athletic challenges to support individuals with physical disabilities

Watch the Week 6 Challenge Digest here

SAN DIEGO, CA – (September 16, 2020) – In just six weeks of launching, the first-ever 2020 CAF Community Challenge presented by Vega has raised nearly $700,000 to support individuals with physical challenges. Close to 700 participants have from across the globe are continuing to track activity miles and raise critical funds in support of the CAF mission. The challenge is an all-new multi-week virtual athletic and fundraising challenge calling on the community to collectively run, cycle, swim, walk, roll and move one million miles to raise $2 million dollars.

“The CAF Community Challenge has connected people from around the world for the common goal of supporting athletes with physical challenges,” said Virginia Tinley, CAF Chief Executive Director. “Our athletes, sponsors, supporters and fundraisers have really responded by getting creative with their activities and raising funds.” Challenged athletes who have been supported by CAF are also using the community challenge to pay it forward.  Over 675 are participating in the challenge and have raised nearly $700,000.

The 2020 CAF Community Challenge presented by Vega is in full swing and open to everyone.  All miles logged on Strava (or other fitness platforms) between Aug 8-Oct 18th can be completed anytime and anywhere by running, walking, rolling, swimming, cycling, fitness classes and more. Additionally, athletes are encouraged to share progress and photos with the community through #CAFCommunityChallenge. Leaderboards with real-time results will track team and individual results and share highlights of the global challenge. In addition, all donations to the organization through October 18th will go towards the $2,000,000 challenge.

Newsworthy stories from the challenge:

  • Elijah Taylor, age 8 from Bloomington, IN is the youngest CAF fundraiser and grant recipient participating. Elijah has already raised over $7,000 through compelling videos on his Facebook fundraiser. Elijah was born with Spina Bifida and recently received a handcycle from CAF which he uses to keep up with his siblings on the trails. They are all putting in miles for the challenge and committed to paying it forward to help more challenged athletes.
  • Ryder Whitmore-Cardenas, age 10 of Elk Grove, CA. has a goal of biking 50 miles alongside his mom Jamie Whitmore, a Paralympic Gold and Silver medalist. She is a cancer survivor and recipient of a CAF Grant since 2012 which has helped her return to cycling after most of her left leg was paralyzed from a cancerous nerve tumor. Ryder started with a fundraising goal of $1,500 and has already surpassed $2,500.
  • Lera Doederlein, age 17 of Escondido, CA has been logging miles for the challenge with her father. Coached by handcycling world champion, Carlos Moleda, Lera is aiming to ride 150 miles for the CAF challenge and is a double above-knee amputee who is planning for a Paralympic future. Lera was born in Russia with a severe condition that affects joints in her legs. She was adopted and moved to the US before she was 2 years old. She ultimately made the decision to have a bilateral above-knee amputation and was quickly introduced to adaptive sports. She plays sled hockey for the San Diego Ducks and last Fall was awarded “the 21st Duck”, a prestigious honor from the NHL Anaheim Ducks team. Lera is also a member of the first-ever CAF Women’s Handcycling Team.
  • Team Highway 101 is made up of fundraisers across California working to virtually conquer the distance from San Francisco to San Diego. On their team is long-time CAF supporter and challenged athlete, Andy Bailey. Andy was a triathlete before getting into a life-changing accident that resulted in his left leg being amputated below the knee. Years later, Andy suffered another life-changing accident that left him with severe paralysis. Now in his 80s, he’s back being athletic and logging his miles in the challenge.

The 2020 CAF Community Challenge presented by Vega celebrates the power of sport to transform lives, build community and change perceptions of what people with permanent physical challenges can accomplish. Funds raised directly support CAF’s mission to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.

From October 4-18th, Strava users can join the Ride for Challenged Athletes Foundation Strava Challenge – a CAF 100-mile cycling challenge on the Strava platform for a chance to win incredible cycling prizes and raise more miles and funds for CAF.  We encourage all to also join CAF’s Strava Club here to be a part of this social and engaging community. Join here https://www.strava.com/clubs/TeamCAF

On October 10th, CAF will be hosting a “Ride for Pie” day to encourage people to get out and ride bikes in support of CAF. The day is sponsored by the J&L Pie Company, who is dedicated to the ongoing success of CAF’s adaptive cycling program.

On Saturday, October 17 viewers around the world will have the opportunity to tune in online for the Celebration of Abilities Award Program presented by Aspen Medical Products produced for a worldwide audience.  CAF will recognize partners, fundraisers and challenged athletes from around the country for their trailblazing and inspirational achievements in the prior year.

And on October 18th, CAF will be hosting a series of virtual activities and community videos including the launch of a “Virtual Kids Run” short film, featuring many of CAF’s youngest grant recipients. CAF and Charge Running will host a Live Virtual Community Run/Walk/Roll presented by Philadelphia Insurance Company where participants from across the county will come together for an hour of walking, running or rolling while being motivated with fun music, inspired by athlete stories, and celebrate the success of the campaign.

Registration for the CAF Community Challenge presented by Vega is still open:  www.challengedathletes.org/communitychallenge

Media Kit:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/ht8lampiruy9psf/AADtQ6P-mqF-PJjE0fJI3Zvna?dl=0&lst=

Sponsors of the 2020 CAF Community Challenge include: Vega, Aspen Medical Products, Nike, Össur, Toyota, 100%, Strava, Smoothie King, IRONMAN®, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, VitalfitSR, Lusardi Construction, XTERRA Wetsuits, Tech Sgt. Jack Kushner, Sully Entertainment Group, LLC, J&L Pie, Accenture, Headsweats, Canyon, Union Bank, Converse, Ashworth Awards, LAZ Parking, The San Diego Union-Tribune, SockGuy, Spinergy, Independent Trading Co., Montana Mex, Rudy Project, ZoneIn, Equator Coffees, Sycuan Casino Resort, Abilico, Activbody, Cavignac & Associates, PRO Rich Nutrition, Credo, The San Diego Foundation, South Coast Surf Shop, Addaday, Freemotion and Charge Running.

About the Challenged Athletes Foundation

The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF believes that participation in physical activity at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.  Since 1994, more than $123 million has been raised and over 30,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts impact another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a $2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fiber running foot not covered by insurance, or arranging enthusiastic encouragement from a mentor who has triumphed over a similar challenge, CAF’s mission is clear: give opportunities and support to those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles. To learn more, visit challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.

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