Hundreds of Athletes Unite at CAF Community Challenge in Mission Bay, Changing Perceptions and Transforming Lives through the Power of Sports

SAN DIEGO, CA, Oct. 25, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) wrapped up a full line-up of dynamic fundraising events which collectively raised over $5.3 Million to expand opportunities for individuals with physical disabilities in sports and physical fitness. Altogether, these three remarkable fundraising initiatives exceeded expectations and demonstrated the power of unity, inclusion and community. With nearly 1,100 passionate supporters participating in these events, the Challenged Athletes Foundation remains a leader in building inclusivity and equality in sport for individuals with physical disabilities to lead active lives.

The inclusive events included the Million Dollar Challenge 7-day California coastal ride which raised over $3.7M, the CAF Community Challenge fueled by Toyota -featuring the 30th San Diego Triathlon Challenge raised $1.5 Million, and the EOS Fitness Tour de Cove stationary cyclethon raised $110,000.

“This recent weekend witnessed the most substantial gathering to date. The $5.3 million in funds raised will play a pivotal role in advancing CAF's mission to create a world where the joys of sports are accessible to all, regardless of their challenges," said Jeffrey Essakow, CAF Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board. "Our heartfelt gratitude goes out to the exceptional fundraisers, global partners, sponsors, dedicated athletes, and selfless volunteers who continue to empower individuals with physical disabilities, helping them discover strength and confidence through sports."

Events kicked off on Friday, October 20 when CAF hosted an Open Water Adaptive Swim Experience and by the afternoon, guests gathered at La Jolla Shores to welcome home over 169 cyclists from CAF’s Million Dollar Challenge presented by Sully Entertainment who had just arrived from a seven-day, 620-mile bike ride from San Francisco to San Diego and raised over $3.7 million dollars in support of CAF’s mission. Later that evening, CAF hosted its annual Celebration of Abilities Awards recognizing partners and challenged athletes from around the country for their trailblazing and inspirational achievements throughout the year.

On Saturday, CAF’s adaptive sports clinics consisted of Össur and CAF Running and Mobility Clinic, CAF’s Adaptive Cycling Clinic, CAF’s Wheelchair Tennis Clinic and an Adaptive Pool Swim Clinic. Over 150 athletes with physical disabilities from across the nation received expert coaching instruction and mentorship in a variety of sports. The highlight of the day was when 14-year-old McKenzi Johnson received a surprise Össur prosthetic running leg so she can play basketball and volleyball in high school.

On Sunday, at Bonita Cove in Mission Bay, sports legends, celebrities, professional athletes, supporters and challenged athletes from all over the world gathered for the Parade of Athletes just before CAF’s signature event, the 30th Anniversary of the San Diego Triathlon Challenge presented by Dan + Geof. Known as “the best day in tri” the San Diego Triathlon Challenge includes a one-mile calm bay swim, a 35-mile scenic bike ride, and a 10-mile run course through stunning Mission Bay. Other Sunday highlights featured the Toyota Sports Festival, offering a range of inclusive activities such as wheelchair basketball, sitting volleyball, curling and sled hockey. Other Sunday highlights included Tour de Cove Stationary Cyclethon presented by EOS Fitness and 5K Walk, Run, & Roll presented by Nike, and the Jami Marseilles Challenged Athletes Kids Run and Roll, presented by Philadelphia Insurance Companies for youth with physical disabilities. 

The annual event showcases the power of the human spirit with over 150 athletes with physical challenges competing side-by-side with 800 plus athletes without physical disabilities. From injured veterans to children born with physical disabilities, each year the CAF Community Challenge welcomes athletes of all ages and abilities for an uplifting experience that celebrates what is possible.

Media Assets:  Images for Media

Sponsors of the weekend’s events include:
Toyota, Dan + Geof, 100%, EOS Fitness, Smoothie King, Nike, Össur, LAZ Parking, Lusardi Construction Company, Philadelphia Insurance Companies, Deloitte, XTERRA Wetsuits, Accenture, Bahia Resort Hotel, Jeffs’ Beach Burgers, San Diego Padres, Arnold Palmer Half & Half Iced Tea Lemonade, Petco, Wells Fargo, San Diego County Toyota Dealers, T-Mobile Accessibility, GRIT Freedom Chair, GU, Blind Stokers Club, SockGuy, Luna Grill, Independent Trading Co., San Diego Foundation, Rainbow Sandals, ZYM, SDG&E, Cavignac & Associates, Mobility Works, Hanger Clinic, Stadium Legends, Access Trax, John Paul Mitchell Systems, Athletic Brewing, Designer Wellness, 1 Shot Energy Chews, Omius, Avalon Bay Communities, Will Perform by Serena Williams, Ross, and RISE Healthcare Group.

About the Challenged Athletes Foundation
The Challenged Athletes Foundation® (CAF) is a world leader in helping people with physical disabilities 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 $159 million has been raised and over 44,000 funding requests from people with physical disabilities in all 50 states and over 70 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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Hundreds of Athletes Unite at CAF Community Challenge in Mission Bay Hundreds of Athletes Unite at CAF Community Challenge in Mission Bay

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