On October 21, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and YMCA of San Diego County will host the Tour de Cove cycling event in La Jolla, California. The stationary cycling event is themed ‘90’s Dance Party’ in honour of CAF’s 25th Anniversary and will raise money to further support challenged athletes.
CAF adds that it is ‘proud to announce its continued partnership with the YMCA of San Diego County (YMCA).’ Since 2013, the YMCA and CAF have got together with the shared commitment to improve the lives of others and make a difference in the community. Together, the organizations are aiming to create a culture where all feel welcome and have access to a supportive fitness and community environment.
The YMCA offers all qualifying San Diego CAF grant recipients complimentary Lifetime Family Memberships to all branches in the county. Over the past five years, 694 physically challenged athletes and 1,932 immediate family members, a total of 2,626 people, have received the lifetime memberships.
Dr Anna Hackenberg is one of those recipients. In April 2017, Anna was walking with friends at Torrey Pines State beach when a chunk of sea bluff dropped on her, breaking her spinal cord and paralyzing her from the chest down. Anna took the active road to recovery and soon attended a CAF adaptive handcycling clinic where she fell in love with the sport. Seven months after the accident, Anna was presented with a surprise handcycle during the 2017 Tour de Cove stationary cycling marathon.
The CAF grant and YMCA membership allow Anna to pursue her physical goals. Before she was injured, Anna was training for the San Diego Rock ‘N’ Roll marathon, and in June 2018, she conquered the Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon as a handcyclist. “My weekly stationary cycling class at the YMCA was key training for my first marathon as a handcyclist,” Anna Hackenberg said. “I have gained so much from the sense of community there and the range of activities that have helped me get mobile and active again.”
According to Baron Herdelin-Doherty, President & CEO of the YMCA of San Diego County – CAF grantees are some of the most active members at the YMCA. “The athletes love the facilities and resources, but more importantly, they feel welcomed and cared for by the staff,” he said.
Through the positive difference they’ve made in the lives of challenged athletes, the YMCA of San Diego County is also leading the way for other YMCA associations throughout the United States. Multiple YMCAs in Colorado, Minnesota, Oregon and Texas have followed suit to support CAF grantees with lifetime memberships.
“We are most honoured to partner with the YMCA of San Diego County,” said CAF Chief Executive Director Virginia Tinley. “Through their incredible support of our grantees and the Tour de Cove event, the YMCA helps CAF impact more challenged athletes around the globe.”
In conjunction with CAF’s 25th annual Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge, the 2018 Tour de Cove will feature 200 challenged athlete and supporting riders. YMCA’s top cycling instructors will take the stage for the 4.5-hour stationary cycling marathon, themed ‘90’s Dance Party’ in honour of the first San Diego Triathlon Challenge in 1994. Bikes have been donated by Keiser and hand cranks by the YMCA. Partners Syucan Casino and Headsweats will also contribute to this transformational day.
Those interested in participating can register as an individual or as part of a three-person relay team. All participants receive perks including a goodie bag featuring a custom Tour de Cove tank top, t-shirt, sweatshirt, visor, water bottle, and more.
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 US$100 million has been raised and over 23,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 US states and dozens of countries have been satisfied.
Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts impact another 60,000 individuals each year. Whether it’s a US$2,500 grant for a handcycle, helping underwrite a carbon fibre 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.’