2022 Holiday Journey to Joy – NEW
Every adaptive athlete’s journey to joy looks a little different, but the common thread is having access to specialized equipment, opportunities to improve physical fitness, and connecting with a welcoming and inclusive community. Past generosity to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) has helped people with permanent physical disabilities—of every age and ability—on their journey to joy.
Your gift during the holiday season will help:
1. Fund grants to cover sports equipment, gym memberships, competition and travel expenses.
2. Bring camps and clinics to athletes around the country.
3. Build a more inclusive adaptive sports community.
“I wouldn’t be able to do these things without CAF. I like to play volleyball, swim, run, and participate in gymnastics a lot. For fun, I also like to play soccer, do the long jump, and javelin.”
All this once seemed unimaginable to Lana and her family. In 2014, when Lana was a toddler, a lawnmower blade severely damaged her left leg. After multiple surgeries to repair the devastating injury, her parents made the tough decision to have her leg amputated at mid-calf.
Lana didn’t let this keep her down. Thanks to CAF and loyal supporters like you, she declares, “It doesn’t define who I am.”
As a new adaptive athlete in the CAF community, Kennedy has been able to try snowboarding and sled ice hockey stating, “I had the best experience trying these two sports and I plan to purse them both. In the future, I also hope to run track in the Paralympics.” Her ultimate goal is to play soccer again. “Sports have positively affected my life since I was a little girl. I have played soccer since I was 4 years old. Soccer has kept me physically fit my entire life and made me grow a love for it. I love how when I play sports it makes me feel like I can do anything.”
Kennedy was the captain of her soccer team and loved to ski until her car accident in May of last year. She sustained a multitude of injuries including a brachial plexus injury on her left arm and an above knee mid thigh amputation on her left leg. “Running is a big part of sports and that being taken from me in a blink of an eye was hard. With the help of CAF, I would be able to finally run again and that means everything to me.”
Meet Tessa and Elias
Through the CAF, both Tessa and Elias found new hope as adaptive athletes. Tessa and her brother Elias were born in Ethiopia. Tessa was born missing both her legs and her right arm above the elbow, and Elias had a lower limb deformity which later lead to his leg being removed above the knee. They were both adopted at a young age by their parents, Meagan and Chase Brown who could provide them with a better life.
With the encouragement of their father (a local prosthetist) and Team CAF, Tessa was able to compete in the Endeavor Games. This event sparked her interest in competitive athletics. Elias partakes in running, surfing, and wheelchair basketball with a dream of one day playing competitively for The University of Texas Arlington.
Meet Landis and Rosalie
Rosalie has found her love of sports through CAF taking on baseball, tennis, surfing, and swimming that otherwise wouldn’t be possible for her. After 17 surgeries, Rosalie began her journey of recovery as a quad-amputee. She was involved in a car accident where she sustained a broken rib and torn liver that later turned into Sepsis. As a result, Rosalie lost blood flow in her limbs causing the need for amputation to save her life.
Rosalie found community and friendship while attending a baseball clinic in Idaho where she met CAF athlete Landis Sims, a young man who like her, also has no hands and no legs. When she met Landis, who was born missing his hands and lower legs, the excitement on her face was evident as she exclaimed, “I have never seen anyone like me before!” Landis taught Rosalie that a disability does not define you, stating “I am only legally handicapped, not physically.”
“CAF was the team that believed in me and gave me the resources to be my best self. The organization gave me the confidence I needed to be myself again! When I look in the mirror – I now see an athlete, a college graduate, a professional, and a mentor to others.”
When Mack was a college sophomore, he fell 35 feet from a balcony. While lucky to be alive, he had shattered his vertebrae and was paralyzed from the waist down. The former athlete had to adjust to his new normal and couldn’t imagine ever playing sports again. He declares, “The day I met Bill Walton—one of CAF’s long-time ambassadors and supporters, it felt like he was a coach telling me, ‘Mack, you’re in.’ Somehow, someone saw something in me that I hadn’t seen for so long.”