The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) recently raised over $2M at its Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope Gala in the Hamptons. On a stunning summer evening at Ludlow Farms in Southampton, over 350 supporters, athletes, business leaders and donors mingled and embraced the night to empower more individuals with physical challenges to pursue an active lifestyle.

Hosted by Chairman and Gala Founder Scott and Emily Stackman and honorees Richard and Christine Mack, the extraordinary evening showcased the healing and transformational power of sports within the community. For over 29 years, CAF has raised over $147 million and funded over 40,000 grants to athletes with physical challenges of all ages and abilities, in all 50 states and over 52 countries.

“CAF’s Northeast region has raised over $25 million dollars to provide support for individuals with physical challenges so they can get active and involved in sports,” says Scott Stackman, gala founder, committee chairman and CAF board member. “We are thrilled to highlight the triumphs, accomplishments, and passion of the CAF community.”

As the sun set over the water, the heart-filled evening featured stories of heroism, triumph over adversity, mentorship and community. CAF athlete and amputee, Breezy Bochenek joined a dynamic 20-person choir on stage for memorable closing performance of “You Will be Found” from Dear Evan Hansen. Following the extraordinary program, The River Town Band and DJ Danja brought guests to the dance floor for a memorable night in Southampton, celebrating the transformational power of sport.

Featured athlete guests included:

  • Lana Aronis (9) from Wichita, Kansas is a below-the-knee amputee as a result of a lawn mower injury when she was 18 months old. She has never let her prosthetic hold her back or define who she is, or who she will become. She continues to show her peers, her teachers, and us as parents that the sky is the limit for her. In 2018 CAF granted her a running blade that allowed her to be on a level playfield with her peers. Since that day, Lana has never looked back or doubted what was possible for her.
  • Mackenzie “Mack” Johnson (25) from Charlotte, North Carolina was paralyzed from the waist down after falling off a balcony in 2016. Basketball Hall of Famer and CAF supporter Bill Walton happened to meet Mack and he insisted that Mack drive straight to CAF to get involved. CAF then granted Mack a high-end competitive basketball wheelchair to use at a summer camp at Auburn University where he was recruited and played on their Division 1 Wheelchair Basketball team and graduated with an accounting degree.

Through CAF’s 2022 grant distribution, challenged athletes in 49 states, Puerto Rico and 52 countries have recently received a variety of grants representing $6.2 million in support. Each individual has a unique personal story, and without this critical funding, participation in sports would be unattainable due to the general lack of insurance coverage for adaptive sports equipment and limited opportunities for these individuals to practice and compete.

Founded in 2006 by Challenged Athletes Foundation and Scott Stackman, the Heroes, Heart and Hope Gala has raised over $25 million to support Challenged Athletes Foundation. These dollars have supported the northeast region in funding thousands of grants, and holding life-changing clinics and local events. This Northeast community of mentors, athletes and supporters is driven to grow CAF’s mission and program reach throughout this region of the country.

[Source(s): Challenged Athletes Foundation, GlobeNewswire]

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Challenged Athletes Foundation Distributes $6.2M in Adaptive Sports Grants