In celebration of its 25th anniversary, Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) has announced that US$3.2 million was raised from October 13-21 as a result of three signature fundraising events: The Million Dollar Challenge Bike Ride, Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge and YMCA of San Diego County Tour de Cove.
Meb Keflezighi – Olympic medallist and winner of New York and Boston Marathons – attended the San Diego Triathlon Challenge event at La Jolla Cove for the first time. He said “The Best Day in Tri was an inspirational moment for me. Great to witness people go beyond limits of the mind. There are life changing experiences being made by Challenged Athletes Foundation.”
Highlights of the day include a surprise grant presentation from Zak Williams, son of Robin Williams, out of the Robin Williams Endowment Fund to 14-year-old Lera Doederlein, a double above knee amputee who was adopted from Russia. Lera was surprised with a new handcycle.
Thousands of participants, volunteers and spectators came together for a final day of sports. Community and fundraising including the Philadelphia Insurance Kid’s Run – where Team CAF mentors such as Rudy Garcia-Tolson and Roderick Sewell ran alongside kids and helped to pave the way for future generations of challenged athletes.
For the Million Dollar Challenge, 166 bicyclists including 17 challenged athletes rode various routes down the coast of California, raising US$1.8 million to support CAF’s mission. MDC participants included San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer and former Chief of Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, and challenged athletes such Paralympians Jill Walsh, Steven Peace, Jamie Whitmore, Billy Lister and Mohamed Lahna and Mack Johnson whose 50-mile personal best on Tuesday of MDC made it onto ESPN’s Top 10 of the week.