Prominent Industry Ratings Group, Charity Navigator Selects 4-Star Prestigious Rated Challenged Athletes Foundation as Top Charity Supporting Veterans
SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – Feb. 4, 2016 – Challenged Athletes Foundation’s® (CAF) Operation Rebound® provides unparalleled opportunities to pursue active, athletic lifestyles by offering access to funding for equipment, training and competition expenses. It is the premier sports and fitness program for American military personnel, veterans and first responders with physical challenges.
CAF believes that involvement in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.
Awarded the highest rating, a four-star by the industry leading charity-ratings group, Charity Navigator, Challenged Athletes Foundation has been selected by Charity Navigator as a top charity supporting veterans. Charity Navigator evaluates charities by financial health, accountability and transparency. The organization then rates charities from zero to four stars to ensure that charitable donations go to efficient, accountable and transparent charities worthy of support.
While deployed in Iraq in 2004 as part of the National Guard, Anthony Smith was hit by a rocket-propelled grenade. The missile went through his hip and stomach before it exploded, throwing him against a brick wall. Shrapnel took his arm. The enemy fired several rounds at his maimed body. He was put in a body bag before a nurse noticed air bubbles oozing through the blood.
Anthony was in a coma for 62 days, underwent dozens of surgeries and lost his right arm below the elbow. In 2008, Anthony joined CAF’s Operation Rebound program with the goal of competing in triathlon and long-distance cycling. Since that time, he competed in a number of sprint and half-distance triathlons and has twice completed CAFS’ Million Dollar Challenge, a 620-mile bike ride down the California coast.
“Before being introduced to CAF I was 310 lbs. and restricted to an automatic wheelchair,” commented Anthony Smith. “Since then I’ve lost 80lbs., have earned my Black Belt in Taekwondo and have opened my own martial arts studio. CAF’s Operation Rebound has truly changed my life.” Watch CAF Athlete Profile video on Anthony Smith.
Bill Geppert, CAF CEO said, “We at CAF are proud to be at the forefront of changing the lives of veterans and first responders who have physical challenges. Not only have these people risked their lives for their country, now they are elite athletes breaking world records and aiming to compete at the Paralympics. It’s an honor to be selected and recognized as a highly regarded charity giving people the confidence that 80 cents of every dollar donated to CAF directly impacts Challenged Athletes’ lives worldwide.”
Here are some examples Challenged Athletes Foundation helps fulfill its mission through its Operation Rebound program:
- Operation Rebound program funds equipment, training and travel expenses that can help our injured troops and first responders harness the healing power of sport – whether the goal is to win Paralympic gold or simply run around the block with their kids.
- In the last year, CAF has awarded a record 258 Operation Rebound Grants and has awarded over $2.5 million to date.
- Operation Rebound program empowers these individual to lead a healthy and active lifestyle. What makes the program unique is that people choose what they want to do. Through sports these individual gain empowerment resulting in an increase in self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life.
- CAF works with resident prosthetists, recreational therapists, and medical hold unit commanders to provide opportunities for physical training that is in compliance with discrete rehabilitation programs and applicable military regulations.
- Sports Clinics are held throughout the year at military medical centers and other locations in the community. Expert coaches and CAF elite athletes provide instruction and mentorship to introduce beginner athletes to a range of sports including bicycling, handcycling, running, swimming, basketball and other sports.
- CAF partnership with Navy Medical Center San Diego – CAF’s Operation Rebound program facilitates a weekly surf clinic with the Del Mar Lifeguards in conjunction with the Navy Medical Center San Diego. Their staff quickly recognized the positive impact from the surfing clinic and included it as part of troops’ rehabilitation program to the point that veterans are receiving doctor prescriptions to go surfing as one of their first steps of recovery.
- CAF’s Operation Rebound program is the official charity of Ironman 70.3 California, Oceanside. Since 2008, over $1.2 million has been raised through Ironman 70.3 races across the country.A few great examples of CAF’s Operation Rebound program participants are:
- Daniel Riley- Upon returning from deployment Daniel volunteered for an additional deployment as a combat replacement and deployed to Afghanistan. He lost both his legs from stepping on an IED in Afghanistan. Daniel endured 25 surgeries to his legs, arm, lung, and abdomen, resulting in above-knee amputations to both legs and the loss of three fingers on his left hand. While rehabbing at Naval Medical Center San Diego, Daniel was introduced to CAF Operation Rebound through the surf clinic. This past winter, Daniel went to surf the world’s most notorious wave, Pipeline in Hawaii. Watch CAF Athlete Profile video on Daniel Riley.
- Patty Collins – After returning from an Iraq deployment in 2006, Patty was struck by an automobile while bicycling to work. Her injuries sustained were significant and 10 months later she made the decision to amputate her leg below the knee in the hopes of regaining her active lifestyle. Since her amputation, she has completed several triathlons and has won both Gold and Silver medals at the World Paratriathlon Championships. She is also taking on the challenge of running up 86 flights of stairs up the Empire State Building Run-Up as part of Team CAF and is member of CAF’s Elite Paratriathlon Team hoping to qualify for Rio Paralympics.
- Eric McElvenny lost his leg while working with Afghan soldiers in 2011 when he stepped on an IED. With the support of Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Operation Rebound program, Eric raced in his first two triathlons just 6 months after taking his first post injury steps, and now competes in Ironman races. Speaking about CAF’s Operation Rebound Program, Eric said, “I hope to give back to others as much as Operation Rebound has given to me.”To learn more about CAF’s Operation Rebound Program visit:
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 $70 million has been raised and over 11,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts reach 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.