A special evening to support athletes with physical challenges, raise funds and showcase CAF’s impact in the Bay Area.
In strong collaboration with the Golden State Warriors, Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) will host the fifth annual Celebration of Heart event on Thursday, May 19 at the spectacular Chase Center in downtown San Francisco. CAF will welcome back an in-person experience at the new home of the Golden State Warriors just weeks after, hosting the first youth wheelchair basketball clinic at the Warriors Training Facility. The extraordinary evening will unite a unique crowd from across sports, technology, business, and philanthropy to showcase how CAF is igniting futures through the power of sport. For over 29 years, CAF has funded over 40,000 grants to athletes with physical challenges of all ages and abilities, in all 50 states and over 42 countries.
The event will begin at 6:30 p.m. with Bay Area Sportscasters Therese Vinal and Laura Britt as hosts of the evening, showcasing CAF’s programming and inclusive community. Guests will experience exquisite food stations in the exclusive United Club while experiencing Chase Center’s famously high level of hospitality. The evening continues after a powerful program with entertainment by the Warriors’ own DJ D-Sharp at the turntables and CAF’s own Breezy Bochenek, a Bay Area athlete that overcame losing her leg to cancer as a young girl and is now an accomplished triathlete and singer.
“Hosting our fifth annual gala in-person and at the Chase Center is a dream come true,” said Kristine Entwistle, CAF Chief Executive Director. “As a leader in adaptive sports, we are honored to have the Golden State Warriors involved to help us amplify the impact of the CAF mission. With over 130,000 people living in the Bay Area with a permanent physical disability, there is a lot more we can do to ignite more futures together through sports.”
Highlighted CAF Athletes
Zach Sherman (36)
An avid snowboarder his entire life, Zach lost both legs and an arm in a motorcycle accident in 2010. Over the past 12 years, Zach, now a triple amputee, has established mobility using prosthetic legs. He developed a unique set of feet with snowboard binding attachments and relearned how to enjoy his favorite sport. In March this year, Zach was surprised with a grant from CAF presented by his snowboarding idol Shaun White. The two spent time together on the slopes bonding over their shared love of snowboarding.
Lera Doederlein (19)
Lera was born in Russia with a severe condition that affects the joints in her legs. She was adopted and moved to the US before the age of 2. At age 14, she made the decision to have a bilateral above-knee amputation and was quickly introduced to adaptive sports. Lera became a multisport adaptive athlete and now competes on the US Women’s Developmental Sled Hockey Team and the CAF Women’s Handcycling Team. Lera is also a full-time athlete in the sport of Para Nordic Skiing Biathlon and qualified to represent the United States at the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics this past February.
Brandon Louie (16), of Los Altos, CA
Last July 16-year-old Brandon caught a wave in Waikiki when he felt a sudden pop in his back and within minutes, he had lost all sensation in his legs. He suffered a sudden and rare spinal cord injury called surfer’s myelopathy, a non-traumatic spinal cord injury caused when blood flow to the lower spine is cut off due to repeated hyperextension and resulting in swelling. In just seven months, Brandon started playing wheelchair basketball and is competing for his school track & field team. He competed in his first meet he met the State meet qualifying marks in all his events- shot put, 100m, 200m and 400m. Brandon attended our Youth Wheelchair Basketball Clinic and is not only a promising new player but a great testament of why sport is so important for youth athletes.
This April, CAF provided 3,256 grants valued at $6.2 million to ignite positive change in the lives of challenged athletes across the country and to continue to ignite their futures. Programs include grants for adaptive sports equipment not covered by medical insurance such as running prosthetics, handcycles and sport wheelchairs along with travel, training, and competition expenses. CAF offers camps and clinics, including running and mobility, paratriathlon, swimming, adaptive cycling, wheelchair basketball, sit volleyball and much more. CAF’s Operation Rebound® program supports injured military, veterans and first responders to strengthen their mental and physical well-being through sports. With strong mentorship, CAF provides post-rehabilitation services to the newly injured and those with physical challenges through inclusion and strengthened communities. Overall, 103 different sports are supported, including wheelchair rugby, blind surfing, equestrian, sled hockey, adaptive CrossFit, and many more to empower active lifestyles.
For more information and ticket to the event, visit: https://www.challengedathletes.org/events/coh/
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 $147 million has been raised and over 40,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and over 70 countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts impact 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.
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