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Challenged Athletes Foundation Distributes $1.7 Million in Grants to Physically Disabled Athletes Around the World Through Access for Athletes Program

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The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF), a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved and stay involved in sports, announced today the distribution of funds to 1,102 individual grant recipients in 27 countries, as part of its Access for Athletes Program. The 2012 funding – totalling $1.7 million – will pay for adaptive equipment (such as handcycles, sports chairs and prosthetics), training and coaching, and competition expenses that will enable physically challenged athletes of all ages and abilities take part in life-affirming sports.

“I am so incredibly grateful for everything that CAF has done for me over the past few years,” says CAF grant recipient Danielle McLaughlin. “Receiving this 2012 Access for Athletes grant will allow me to travel to New Zealand for the ITU Paratriathlon World Championships and, most importantly, it will help me continue toward my goal to earn a place on the USA Paratriathlon Team when paratriathlon makes its debut at the Paralympics in 2016.”

The determination and commitment of CAF’s donors, sponsors and fundraisers enabled the organization to fund a record number of grants this year. Highlights of CAF’s 2012 grant distribution include:

  • 83% of grant requests received by CAF were approved, an 8% gain over previous year
  • 58% are first-time recipients of a CAF grant
  • 10% are Paralympic hopefuls (either qualified or attending trials)
  • 44% reported an income of less than $20,000 per year
  • 84% of grantees are men; 16% are women
  • All ages are represented (the youngest grantee is 3 years old, the oldest is 83)
  • Most requested items: basketball chairs (117), competition expenses (485), coaching and training expenses (93), and handcycles (108)

Each grant application undergoes a rigorous review process prior to approval. “Most medical insurance companies do not cover the adaptive sporting equipment challenged athletes need to not only get involved, but remain competitive,” said Virginia Tinley, CAF’s Executive Director. “CAF exists to help bridge the economic barriers to participation in sports for physically challenged athletes. We want to make sure that the people who receive our grants really need our help. Each application is carefully reviewed by our staff and scored using a custom-designed software program.”

Since 1994, CAF has raised more than $36 million and provided direct financial assistance to more than 6,100 athletes around the world. CAF’s other programs – Catch a Rising Star (mentoring and fitness for people with disabilities), Operation Rebound (helping permanently injured military personnel “From the Frontline to the Finish line”), Reach High (outreach to educate communities about “what is possible”)’ and Project N.Ex.T (connecting physically disabled mentees in San Diego County with similarly disabled mentors who provide one-on-one support as role models) – combine to touch an additional 60,000 people per year.

Challenged Athletes Foundation

The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved – and stay involved – in sports. CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $36 million has been raised and almost 6,000 funding requests from challenged athletes 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 those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. To learn more, log on to www.challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.

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