Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) To Host Extraordinary Virtual Awards Program With Celebrity Presenters

The 2020 Celebration of Abilities Awards Program presented by Aspen Medical Products to be held Saturday, October 17 at 4:00 PST

San Diego, CA, Oct. 13, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Watch Trailer

Viewers around the world will have the opportunity to join co-hosts Bob Babbitt and top professional golfer and analyst Michelle Wie for the annual 2020 Celebration of Abilities Award Program presented by Aspen Medical Products. On Saturday, October 17, the uplifting program will premiere live on Facebook and YouTube to celebrate the extraordinary heart of CAF athletes and the generosity of supporters. A decorated line-up of celebrity award presenters and professional athletes will announce award winners and recognize key partners, fundraisers and challenged athletes from around the country for their trailblazing, inspirational achievements and commitment this past year.

Celebrity award presenters, who share a passion for the CAF mission, include Good Morning America, Anchor Robin Roberts, running legend Joan Benoit Samuelson and NBA Hall of Famer Bill Walton. The program will also include athlete storytelling and fundraising hosted by KUSI San Diego broadcaster, Allie Wagner along with and special music performance by Grammy award-winning rock band, Switchfoot.

“Every year we look forward to honoring the triumphs of athletes with physical challenges who have demonstrated exceptional amounts of strength, resilience, and commitment,” said Virginia Tinley, CAF Chief Executive Director. “This year, we are thrilled to bring our heartfelt program to a worldwide audience to showcase many powerful moments of lives being transformed by sport.”

The awards program marks the culmination of the 2020 CAF Community Challenge, a multi-week virtual challenge that runs from August 8 – October 18. The challenge calls on the community to collectively run, cycle, swim, walk and move over one million miles to raise two million dollars. Funds raised from the event directly support CAF’s mission to provide opportunities and support to people with physical challenges so they can pursue active lifestyles through physical fitness and competitive athletics.

Tune in Saturday, October 17 at 4pm PST to hear from the 2020 winners of the Jim MacLaren Award, Trailblazer Award, Most Inspirational Award, Exceptional Athletic Performance Award, and Partners of the Year Award. Funds raised during the program will be generously matched by a $25,000 gift from Dick Lansing and Carlene Kreider and another $25,000 gift from Dan Williamson, the founder and CEO of Aspen Medical Products.

The 2020 Celebration of Abilities Award Winners are: 

  • Jim MacLaren Award - Alan Shanken, CAF Board Member and a below-knee amputee, has been actively involved with CAF since 2006. As an athlete, he knows first-hand how empowering sports can be. His business and finance background coupled with his passion to help physically challenged individuals has been instrumental in the continued success and leadership of CAF in the Bay Area.
  • Trailblazer Award – Anna Soens was left paralyzed after falling 35 feet in a climbing accident. Although she was told she’d never walk again, Anna defied the odds and made history as the first woman with paraplegia to summit Mt. Hood. One year later, she completed a second summit expedition to Mt. Baker that included 8,000 feet of uninterrupted sit-skiing in her descent. Anna’s trailblazing accomplishments in mountaineering exemplify the heart and commitment needed to reach great heights.
  • Aspen Medical Products Most Inspirational Award - Mohamed Lahna, Andre Kajlich, Lucas Onan – Lowest to Highest Team - Earlier this year, three adaptive CAF athletes set out on the Lowest to Highest Expedition to link the lowest point of South America, to the highest point. André Kajlich (bilateral amputee), Mohamed Lahna (below-knee amputee) and Lucas Onan, (right arm limb difference) biked and hiked across Argentina and up the tallest mountain covering more than 2,000 miles in the process. Their journey took them out of Patagonia to the summit of Aconcagua, covering about 130 miles per day over 14 days.
  • Exceptional Athletic Performance Award – In 2011, Marko Cheseto , a college student in Alaska, went missing in a blizzard only to be found 56 hours later. He suffered from hypothermia and severe frostbite resulting in the amputation of both feet. In 2013, he was presented with his first pair of Össur running prosthetics and he ran the New York City Marathon in under 3 hours. Last October, he raced a world record 2:37:23 at the Chicago Marathon. His perseverance and exceptional athletic conditioning have allowed him to achieve extraordinary levels of success in sport. 
  • Partner of the Year - Roth Capital Partners has donated an all-time contribution of over $1.3 million. The Duane Roth Legacy Group was created to connect a San Diego network of philanthropists to help CAF and several other charities.
  • Media Partner of the Year - Sully Entertainment Group’s Loft 100 is an exclusive music recording studio with quality sound engineering, mixing, mastering and video production. Sully Entertainment Group and Loft 100 have donated countless hours of in-kind support for video production and editing.

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A special thanks to our sponsors of the 2020 CAF Community Challenge include: Vega, Aspen Medical Products, Nike, Össur, Toyota, 100%, Strava, Smoothie King, IRONMAN®, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, VitalfitSR, Lusardi Construction, XTERRA Wetsuits, Tech Sgt. Jack Kushner, Sully Entertainment Group, LLC, J&L Pie, Accenture, Headsweats, Canyon, Union Bank, Converse, Ashworth Awards, LAZ Parking, The San Diego Union-Tribune, SockGuy, Spinergy, Independent Trading Co., Montana Mex, Rudy Project, ZoneIn, Equator Coffees, Sycuan Casino Resort, Abilico, Activbody, Cavignac & Associates, PRO Rich Nutrition, Credo, The San Diego Foundation, South Coast Surf Shop, Addaday, Freemotion and Charge Running.

About Aspen Medical Products

Aspen Medical Products is a leader in the design, development and marketing of upper and lower spinal orthotics. The Company is headquartered in Irvine, Calif. and has local sales representatives throughout the United States as well as representation worldwide. For more than 30 years, the management team and employees at Aspen have introduced a continuous flow of pioneering spinal bracing products and services to the healthcare marketplace. For more information, visit us online at

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 $123 million has been raised and over 30,000 funding requests from people with physical challenges in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF’s outreach efforts impact 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 or call 858-866-0959.



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CAF's 2020 Celebration of Abilities award program celebrates the extraordinary heart of CAF athletes and supporters in the past year.

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