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Why Challenged Athletes Foundation?

April 29, 2012

Click here to go to my donation page!

I’ve been meaning to write for some time about why I’m trying to raise money for Challenged Athletes Foundation. But I got busy getting my training in gear. Fundraising kept getting pushed aside. But it’s time to pick that up!

I’ll admit, originally I did not think I would be doing a charity entry for this race. I thought I would be doing normal registration. And when registration opened on November 21, 2011, I was sitting at my computer waiting. And within ten minutes the race sold out and I barely missed finishing the registration form quick enough. But I decided to turn that obstacle into an opportunity. I’ve always admired people who do races for charity, and normally I donate to support my friends. And yet, I’ve never done a race for charity myself. So the timing seemed right. I was already committed to doing Ironman Arizona with friends from my gym.

So I registered for a charity slot for IMAZ. I paid $650 to Ironman Foundation for my charity entry. Ironman Foundation supports local non-profits in the communities where Ironman races occur. It’s a way for the organization to give back to communities that support the races. So my first fundraising goal is to raise the $650 I paid to the Ironman Foundation.

But I quickly decided I wanted to raise more than just my initial commitment to Ironman Foundation. As I told my husband, I’ve always admired people who use athletics to raise money for causes that are really important to them personally. My list came down to the Trevor Project and Challenged Athletes Foundation. Both do incredible work. The Trevor Project does critical suicide prevention work with LGBTQ youth. Challenged Athletes Foundation supports athletes with physical disabilities. As critical as the work that the Trevor Project does is, I realized fundraising for CAF would be more inspiring to me as I struggle through my own training.

Through high school, I was not an athlete at all. I played recreational sports as a kid, and still occasionally biked, but by the time I finished high school, I was largely sedentary. And somehow in undergrad, I got involved in crew. Becoming an athlete has made a tremendous difference in my life: better motivation, focus, energy, self-confidence, time management, enthusiasm. Today, being an athlete is a core part of my identity, so much that I almost cannot imagine not being an athlete. But as difficult as my journey from the couch to athlete was, at least I am able-bodied. I did not face physical limitations.

The athletes that CAF supports are truly inspiring. They compete at all athletic levels in all types of events. Yes, even including Ironman races! And if they can do it, so can I. Once I raise the initial $650 for IM Foundation, I will try to raise at least another $350 for CAF. And I will kick start that by making the first donation to CAF. This way I can use my Ironman Journey to help bring the empowerment of athletics to a wider audience.

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