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The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) will auction a prized slot to the Ford Ironman World Championship, organized and conducted by the World Triathlon Corporation, at a gala dinner in New York City on June 10. The winning bidder (or his/her designee) may compete in either 2009 or 2010. Proceeds from the auction will help fund specialized equipment, training and coaching for physically challenged athletes so they can participate in the sports that many able-bodied individuals take for granted.

 

Interested parties can bid on the coveted slot in one of two ways: In person, by buying a ticket for A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope (tickets are $500; discounts available for NY-area triathlon club members; go to http://www.heroesheartandhope.com/-- to learn more) or by downloading and completing a proxy bid form at http://www.challengedathletes.org/

http://www.challengedathletes.org/ and faxing it to 858.866.0958. Proxy bid forms will be accepted through Noon (PST) on Tuesday, June 9. The minimum opening bid for proxy bidders is $20,000 and during the live auction, bids will be made in increments of $1,000 until the bidder's maximum bid is reached. The winning bidder must have completed an Ironman 70.3 or other long distance triathlon by Oct. 1 prior to the Hawaii race date and is required to submit a completed athlete waiver to Ironman. For a complete list of auction rules, go to http://www.challengedathletes.org/.

 

"As we prepare for our third annual event, we recognize the importance of the event sponsors like Ironman," said Virginia Tinley, CAF's Executive Director. "The Ironman slot has always been a significant and extremely popular item in the live auction, and has raised many thousands of dollars to support the important mission of the Challenged Athletes Foundation."

 

Held at the Waldorf=Astoria Hotel, A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope will feature challenged athlete "stars," celebrities, and notable New Yorkers. Funds raised at the event will help challenged athletes overcome the economic roadblocks to participation in sports and live life to the fullest. This year's gala will honor Mark Holowesko, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Holowesko Partners Ltd. for his leadership, contributions and athletic success.

 

 

About Challenged Athletes Foundation

Since 1994, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) has raised more than $21 million and satisfied more than 4,000 funding requests from challenged athletes around the world via its Access for Athletes program. CAF provide funding directly to physically challenged individuals for the acquisition of adaptive sports equipment like sports wheelchairs, mono-skis, tandem bicycles, handcycles and sports prosthetics. Additionally CAF provides funds to entry- and elite-level athletes for training and competition expenses. Through its other programs - Catch a Rising Star (mentoring and introduction to sports), Operation Rebound (for U.S. military personnel and first responders injured while serving) and Reach High (community outreach), the organization reaches an additional 65,000 individuals per year. In 2009, CAF distributed more than $1.36 million in funding to 765 individuals in 49 U.S. states and 25 countries. To learn more, log on to http://www.challengedathletes.org/ or call 858-866-0959.

 

 

About Ironman

 

 

World Triathlon Corporation, owners and organizers of Ironman, is a Florida-based company recognized for athletic excellence, performance and quality products. With the addition of the Ironman 70.3 Series, Ironman now has more than 42 qualifying events worldwide. Supported by partners that include Ford Motor Company, Dell, Timex and Gatorade, Ironman is the No.1 user-based sports brand in the world. Ironman has been a respected name in triathlon since its inception nearly 30 years ago and is regarded as the world's most challenging endurance event. Millions may remember moments in Ironman history such as Julie Moss' crawl to the finish line in 1982, which was showcased on ABC's Wide World of Sports. Each year, more than 80,000 athletes compete for slots in the Ford Ironman World Championship held every October in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, and the Ironman World Championship 70.3 held every November in Clearwater, FL. The Ironman brand has been featured in a range of media outlets to include NBC, CNN Headline News, The Wall Street Journal, People, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times and USA Today.

 

 

 

 

 

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San Diego, Calif - Some of the world's most accomplished and inspirational physically challenged athletes will take center stage at the Waldorf=Astoria in New York City for the third annual A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope gala (Heroes, Heart and Hope) on June 10 to benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF). The gala event, which this year will honor Mark Holowesko - the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer of Holowesko Partners Ltd. - raised more than $800,000 in 2008 to fund handcycles, running prosthetics and other specialized equipment to help physically challenged athletes overcome the economic barriers that far too often prevent them from participating in sports and athletic activities.

 

"CAF's message of heroes, heart and hope will be a breath of fresh air for New York area supporters during these tough economic times," said Scott Stackman, Senior Vice President of UBS Financial Services Inc. and Chairman of the Heroes, Heart and Hope gala organizing committee. "Our goal at this event is to continue to raise awareness in the New York Tri-State area of what is possible given the right resources, and raise funds to get more physically challenged athletes off the sidelines and into the game."

 

The Heroes, Heart and Hope gala will also recognize sports legends and celebrities like Ironman greats Paula Newby-Fraser, Dave Scott and Scott Tinley, but the real stars will be the more than 20 physically challenged athletes - from kids to Hawaii Ironman finishers, from trailblazers to troops wounded in Iraq and Afghanistan - who are supported by CAF and will attend the event. Their stories of breaking barriers and perseverance will be showcased during the evening's program. Highlighted athletes will include:

 

 

 

  • New York's own Sam Cila. An American hero, who joined the New York National Guard after September 11, was injured in Iraq on July 4, 2005 and subsequently lost his hand. Sam continues to heal through sports.

  • David Gelfand. Born with the same condition as CAF Spokesperson and CBS's Amazing Race reality star Sarah Reinertsen - his idol, this young Weston, Connecticut native, an above-knee amputee, offers hope to other physically challenged kids.

  • Deanna Babcock. A competitive athlete her whole life, she was devastated when she lost her leg after suffering a heart attack at the young age of 23. Now with a new running foot, she's back into sport, and back into life.

  • Ricky James. When a motocross accident went horribly wrong, he lost the use of his legs, but not his competitive spirit.

 

The spirited live auction at the Heroes, Heart and Hope gala boasts a coveted spot in the Ford Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, (donated by Ironman) which last year was won with a $45,000 bid. Individuals unable to attend the Heroes, Heart and Hope gala will be able place proxy bids on the Ironman slot ahead of the event. Go to http://www.challengedathletes.org/ for details and rules.

 

"Tickets and sponsorship opportunities for this inspirational evening are still available" said Virginia Tinley, CAF's Executive Director. "Sponsors already on-board include: Ironman, Major League Baseball, Men's Health, and UBS Private Wealth Management, and it's through their support, that this uplifting evening is made possible."

 

 

 

 

The Heroes, Heart and Hope gala begins at 6 pm with cocktails and a silent auction in the Astor Salon. The dinner and program begin at 7:30 pm in the Grand Ballroom. The Waldorf=Astoria is located at 301 Park Ave in New York. For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to: http://www.heroesheartandhope.com/. Tickets to the event are $500.

 

 

On June 13, CAF athletes participating in the Heroes, Heart and Hope gala will hold a special multisport clinic, sponsored by Accenture at Asphalt Green (York Ave. between 90th and 92nd Streets in Manhattan) for local physically challenged athletes. For more information, contact: Jill@challengedathletes.org.

 

 

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Since 1994, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) has raised more than $21 million and satisfied more than 4,000 requests for funding from challenged athletes around the world via its Access for Athletes program. Through its other programs - Catch a Rising Star (mentoring and introduction to sports), Operation Rebound (for U.S. military personnel and first responders injured while serving) and Reach High (community outreach), the organization reaches an additional 65,000 individuals per year. In 2009, CAF distributed more than $1.36 million in funding to 765 individuals in 49 U.S. states and 25 countries. To learn more, log on to http://www.challengedathletes.org/ or call 858-866-0959.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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