I have been selected to participate in the 2014 Badwater Ultramarathon which is considered to be “the world’s toughest footrace.” This prestigious event will begin on July 21 and covers 135 miles non-stop over the most epic terrain imaginable and will finish at the end of the road on Mt. Whitney. It is the most demanding and extreme running race offered anywhere on the planet as temperatures will soar to 120 degrees. The 2014 route features over 19,000 feet of elevation gain, two dramatic ascents into the Sierra Nevada, and a 15-mile dirt road trek to an authentic ghost town. I will have 48 hours to complete this tortuous and arduous 135-mile trek, and it will be my 4th consecutive year of participation. I am honored to be 1 of 100 athletes and 1 of 20 women to compete in this year’s race.
Through my participation in Badwater, I have chosen to raise money for the Challenged Athletes Foundation which brings awareness to physically challenged people who desire to participate in sports. CAF is an inspirational 501(c)3 non-profit foundation that gives hope to thousands of individuals with physical disabilities around the world by showing them what is possible. Only 1 in 10 physically challenged people participate in sports, and over 75% of children with disabilities will never even try. It's not because they lack ambition, desire, or skill; they only lack the support and funding to obtain the resources necessary to succeed. Running prosthetics can cost more than $30,000 while adaptive sports equipment such as basketball wheelchairs cost up to $5,000. Learning to swim when you lack a limb (or limbs) requires special coaching, and insurance typically does not cover these expenses.
In October 2013, I attended a running fundraising event for Snowdrop Foundation where I met Emily Garcia. Emily had been diagnosed with bone cancer in 2002 and has had to undergo numerous surgeries over the past 14 years. One of these surgeries required amputation of her leg. Emily was affiliated with Snowdrop as it is a non-profit organization that helps provide scholarships for college bound pediatric cancer patients and survivors and offers a support Teen Program for teenage patients within the Cancer Center. Emily really wanted to run with us, but she couldn’t. Her goal that day was to walk a mile on her prosthetic leg. She persevered and never quit or gave up.
Since Emily wanted to run, I contacted CAF to find out how she could obtain a running blade. The timing was perfect as CAF had just opened up its annual scholarship program. On April 2, 2014, Emily posted the following on her Facebook page, “I'm so beyond thrilled right now I got my congrats letter in the mail from CAF !! I get to start a new adventure! I haven't been able to run since being diagnosed with bone cancer in November of 2002. I walked, I cycled, I did cheerleading, but never ran. I'm excited for this new challenge to push myself physically and really show people that there is no excuses not to achieve something that you put your mind to. I'm beyond blessed by Challenged Athletes Foundation!”
What an honor it is to know that your financial gifts have made a difference in the life of a beautiful young lady who dreams successfully running across the finish line of a race. She never quit and neither will I so that I may be able to touch and help better the life of a challenged athlete.
Please join with CAF and me by changing lives, like Emily’s and make a donation to Challenged Athletes Foundation. With your help, together we can raise $10,000 to help these athletes off the sidelines and into the game! The link to my fundraising page is below. If you would prefer to write a check, please make it out to “Challenged Athletes Foundation”, and I will take care of submitting it.
Thank you again for your encouragemenet and support as I being my 4th Badwater trek from Badwater to the portal of Mt. Whitney - just 135 miles in 120+ temps!
With grace, gratitude and guts, I thank you!