Challenge Athlete

Funding Provides Continued Support for CAF Operation Rebound to Help Injured Veterans and First Responders get from the Front Line to Finish Line

San Diego, CA – July 18, 2016

The Mazda Foundation (USA), Inc. and the Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) continue its partnership to help individual with physical challenges pursue an active lifestyle through sports. For the third year in a row, the Mazda Foundation will be the title sponsor of CAF’s 11th annual Mazda Foundation Million Dollar Challenge taking place from October 15th to the 21st, 2016.

Since 2011, the Mazda Foundation has continued to increase its support of CAF by providing financial support to CAF Operation Rebound®, a program that helps injured veterans and first responders with physical challenges use sports and physical fitness to re-integrate into society and lead active and fulfilling lives. Grants provide financial assistance for adaptive sports equipment, training and competition expenses for those who have honorably served our country and continue to protect our freedom and communities in the military and as first responders.

“The Mazda Foundation is honored to be the title sponsor of this one-of-a-kind event that allows those participating to ride side-by-side with the challenged athletes their fundraising is supporting,” said Mazda Foundation program director Tamara Mlynarczyk. “We are proud to be able to continue to support the Mazda Foundation Million Dollar Challenge. Through this event, millions of dollars have been raised to make a life-changing impact on this community.”

Lieutenant Dan Berschinski has always competed in marathons and triathlons. However, an Improvised Explosive Devise (IED) while on tour in Kandahar, Afghanistan would claim his legs and ultimately force Dan to re-evaluate his life. However, Dan had survived and he was determined to make the most of his attitude, ability, and rest of his life. Dan has received grants through CAF Operation Rebound and has become an avid handcyclist. He participated in CAF’s Cycling Challenge Back-to-Back NorCal in 2015 and will be one of the riders at this year’s Mazda Foundation Million Dollar Challenge.

Challenged Athletes Foundation CEO Ken Wheatley commented about the partnership, “We are very grateful for the continued support from the Mazda Foundation that directly puts CAF’s mission into action. Individuals participating not only experience a ride of a lifetime, but through Mazda Foundation’s efforts, we are able to provide grants to individuals with physical challenges so they can pursue an active lifestyle through sport and physical fitness.”

The signature seven-day, 620-mile journey down the breathtaking California coastline from San Francisco to San Diego is a one-of-a-kind cycling event that raises over $1 million to support the nonprofit organization’s mission. This epic experience is limited to 100 cyclists who enjoy an exclusive and fully supported ride that includes stops in California’s most stunning coastal towns. CAF’s Mazda Foundation Million Dollar Challenge combines first-class cycling support with a heart-pounding route all while riding alongside the inspiring challenged athletes who are conquering the same miles.

To learn more about the Mazda Foundation Million Dollar Challenge and registration information, click here or contact Julia Duggan at julia@challengedathletes.org or (858) 210- 3511.

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 $76 million has been raised and over 13,000 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.

About the Mazda Foundation

Through the Mazda Foundation, Mazda and its employees are working together to proactively help our neighbors – and the communities where we live and work – to build a better, brighter future. With contributions exceeding $11.2 million since its founding in 1992, the Mazda Foundation is playing a meaningful role in helping thousands of Americans realize their aspirations and dreams. The Mazda Foundation supports programs ranging from children’s organizations and educational scholarships to food banks, environmental programs and crucial disaster relief efforts. To lean more, visit Mazdafoundation.org.