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A Celebration of Heroes, Heart & Hope

The Challenged Athletes Foundation and our New York committee are honored and excited to share that our 2014 Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope gala was a huge success. Thanks to the generosity of our sponsors, guests and our incredible honoree William Ackman, we raised a record-breaking $2.3 MILLION this year, bringing the event's total funds raised, over eight years, to more than $10 MILLION. We are so grateful for this incredible support from the New York community.

"To say I am proud of the support our New York community has provided for these inspiring athletes is an understatement. I remember 10 years ago, when I first became involved with CAF. I stood in awe, admiring the athletes' courage. I knew the feeling I got was one I had to share. Now, eight years later, the growth of the Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope gala has surpassed my every expectation. Thank you for helping us change lives and hitting this incredible $10 million milestone.”

- Scott Stackman, gala chairman and founder/ CAF board member

On Wednesday evening, the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf=Astoria filled with 850 supporters to celebrate challenged athletes who grow STRONGER through sports. It was truly an unforgettable night filled with touching moments of strength and love, tales of remarkable athletic prowess and uplifting examples of how a dedicated community changes lives.

In case you weren't able to take part in this year's event, enjoy the event photo gallery and some special moments from the night below. You still have time to support CAF and make a DONATION to this special cause.




“Without CAF, I wouldn't be who I am today. And it's now my responsibility to pay it forward.”

Six years ago, CAF bought Alana Nichols her first sports chairs. Today, she is the first female athlete, of both Paralympians and Olympians, to win gold in BOTH Summer and Winter Games and is proud to be a role model for the next generation.

"It’s amazing what they can do now, thanks to the Challenged Athlete Foundation”

The TODAY Show's Natalie Morales and Willie Geist proved the evening's theme - "STRONGER" - true as they hosted the evening as a dynamic duo. As a long-time supporter, Natalie spoke to her personal testaments watching CAF athletes discover limitless possibilities.

“You never know how strong you are until strong is all you CAN be.”

Celeste Corcoran, who lost both legs at the Boston Marathon attack, once again took the gala stage and reminded us that there will always be difficult days, but when you have strong support systems, like CAF and Celeste's dedicated family, you will find the strength to pull yourself up again and again.

“Standing on the podium I realized, this win isn’t just about me, it's about the community of people that makes us all stronger.”

Navy Lt. Brad Snyder remembers the emotion when his coach yelled that he won gold in the 400 meter freestyle at the Paralympics. But it wasn’t just the achievement that brought Brad joy. Having lost his sight to an IED in Afghanistan on the same day one year earlier, Brad realized this medal was a testament to his entire community of support.





A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope is an event like no other that showcases the transformational power of sports. It is a tribute to the challenged athletes who continue to defy the odds and prove that together, we are STRONGER. Join us Wednesday, June 11 for an inspiring evening as we recognize it’s not always our size, speed, or brute strength that makes us STRONG. What matters is the depth of our character, the will of our heart and the support of our community that powers us to victory in the biggest competition of all: the game of life.

At last year's Gala, you helped us honor many Boston Marathon survivors like Celeste Corcoran. See how one year later, with YOUR help, CAF has supported them on their journey to get STRONGER...


Since the inaugural event in 2007, the Celebration of Heroes, Heart, and Hope gala has become one of New York City’s premier charitable events, raising over $10 million to support the Challenged Athletes Foundation. Each year the Grand Ballroom at the historic Waldorf=Astoria is transformed for an evening full of inspiration, motivation and entertainment. The unique gala, which brings together notables from Wall Street, the world of sports and broadcast media puts incredible challenged athletes center stage as they share their uplifting stories of bravery, determination and achievement in sport – and in life. Nothing compares to this hip, sporty and luxurious evening where you not only support challenged athletes – but meet them in person and witness first-hand how your support literally changes lives. A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope is a moving, fast-paced testament to the strength of the human spirit and its power to overcome any challenge.

A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope attracts top industry innovators and achievers who truly understand – whether in sport or in life – the importance of drive, passion and determination. The gala Honoree and Honorary Committee represent some of the most respected and successful people in their fields with past honorees including Steve Freidheim, Martin Franklin, Dan Loeb and the Boston Marathon bombing survivors. From sponsors to attendees, the room is filled with CEOs, top corporate management and leaders from the leading financial institutions, hedge funds, real estate, publishing and high profile consultancies along with current and legendary pro athletes, celebrities and New York personalities.

Funds raised at A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope help challenged athletes overcome the financial obstacles that often keep them on the sidelines. The event allows CAF to provide grants for sports prosthetics and adaptive sports equipment typically not covered by medical insurance and provides funding for training, coaching, mentoring and competition expenses to allow challenged athletes to not only get involved - but stay involved in sports.

The true magic of the evening comes when generous donors raise their paddles to fund the athletic goals of challenged athletes; like a young girl’s running legs, so she can realize her dream to run on her high school track team; or when donations pour in for sports wheelchairs to allow paralyzed athletes to compete in basketball, tennis, lacrosse, rugby and many other sports that able-bodied athletes take for granted. Thanks to events like this,  CAF funded grants totaling $3.1 million to 1,469 people across the US and internationally in 2014. Additionally, CAF raised over $50,000 to support the victims of the Boston Marathon tragedy who have now become part of the CAF family; receiving grants for running legs, attending the Boston Össur Running clinic and being honored at the 2013 Heroes, Heart and Hope Gala.

Many thanks for the great evening. I had a wonderful time and it was fantastic to see all the CAF legends and to listen to the heart warming stories.

— Dave Scott, six-time Ironman World Champion