The CAF Million Dollar Challenge Celebrates 15th Anniversary

October 13, 2021

Group of Steadfast Cyclists Riding for Fifteen Years to Help Athletes with Physical Challenges Get Access to Sports and Compete

SAN FRANCISCO – October 13, 2021 – Later this month, over 160 cyclists, including 20 individuals with permanent physical challenges will ride along the California Coast in support of Challenged Athletes Foundation 15th Annual Million Dollar Challenge presented by Sully Entertainment (MDC). This annual bike ride has earned a reputation as one of the premier cycling events in the country where individuals can use their passion for cycling to make a difference in the lives of others. The passionate peloton will ride for 7-days and nearly 640 miles from San Francisco to San Diego starting on October 16 and raising over $1.5M to help thousands of athletes with physical challenges gain access to sports worldwide.

The event will kick off at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco on the evening of October 15 with a surprise grant presentation to a local teen who plans to excel is wheelchair sports. The ride will begin the morning of October 16 with a police escort leading the impressive group of challenged athletes, fundraisers and influencers on their 7-day ride down the stunning coast of California. The cyclists will average nearly 100 miles a day with stops in Santa Cruz, Big Sur, Pismo Beach, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Orange County before arriving in Mission Bay, San Diego where they will be greeted by the kids who benefit from their hard-earned efforts and fundraising dollars.

“For 15 years the Million Dollar Challenge has built a community of riders with deep appreciation for life,” said Dean Roeper, MDC Ride Co-Chair and Member CAF Board of Directors. “Together they transform the perception of what people with permanent physical disabilities can accomplish…it’s more than a ride.”

Among the peloton of cyclists this year are over 20 athletes with permanent physical challenges with incredible stories of overcoming adversity. Bay Area Paralympic cyclist Jamie Whitmore

and CAF Women’s Handcycling Team member Ryen Reed will join Team Liza, our first ever mother and daughter team. Beth and Liza James who did their very first triathlon together with CAF and will join the peloton this year. In 2003, Beth was diagnosed with brain cancer and a year later, Beth and her children were involved in a car accident that left Liza (age 25) with a severe brain injury.  Together they will conquer the coast with other CAF incredible athletes like Lance Weir, a Marine Corp reservist who was paralyzed after being dislodged in a canoe and retired Navy officer and Paralympic cyclist, Steven Peace.

More about the incredible CAF athletes who will be conquering the coast: 2021 MDC CAF Athlete Bios

As the MDC peloton makes its way down the California coast they will be rewarded along the way with touching program nights showing the impact of their fundraising supporting the CAF mission. In San Francisco, on October 15, CAF will present a special E-Assist Handcycle to Xavier Carreon, a 13-year old active teen born with a limb difference. When cyclists reach Santa Barbara on October 20, they will sync up with the 3-day riders just before another life-changing surprise grant is given to young Imre Patterson. Imre will be presented with a kid’s adaptive mountain bike so he will be able to take his activities off-road.

“It’s the positivity that keeps me coming back to ride every year. We focus on what we can do and not what our limitations are,” said Melinda Johnson, CAF MDC Ride Leader for 7 years. “I love being a part of such an important cause and looking forward to another extraordinary event this year.”

The police escorted arrival of the entire MDC group on October 22 signifies the beginning of the 2021 CAF Community Challenge powered by Strava, the flagship weekend of fundraising events including adaptive clinics for running and mobility, wheelchair tennis, swimming and surfing. The weekend culminates with the extraordinary Celebration of Abilities program and the Aspen Medical Products 28th Annual San Diego Triathlon Challenge. Athletes of all abilities will enjoy an action-packed weekend in San Diego, CA celebrating the power of sport to change lives.

Media Assets: 2019 MDC Highlight video and 2019 images

The Million Dollar Challenge is sponsored by: Sully Entertainment Group, Tech Sgt Jack Kushner Foundation, 100%, Toyota, ‘Nspire Happiness and ZYM.

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 $134 million has been raised and over 35,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and over 70 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.