Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) host its 2021 fundraising gala, A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope, virtually on June 9. The at-home experience aims to raise funds to empower the next generation of challenged athletes.

Hosted by Dylan Dreyer from NBC’s Today Show, the program will showcase the healing and transformational power of sports within the community. The event will include an exclusive cocktail and cooking experience and share the power of sport through a moving program of athlete stories and transformational moments featuring youth and high school challenged athletes. The at-home experience will bring the community together to raise funds in support of the CAF mission – and empower the next generation of challenged athletes, a media release from Challenged Athletes Foundation notes.

“We are thrilled to showcase the triumphs, accomplishments, and passion of the CAF community. It’s time for us to make a comeback and take our emotions and compassion for humanity to lift each other up.”

— Scott Stackman, gala founder, committee chairman and CAF board member

Event Festivities

The event will begin at 6:30 pm with an exclusive interactive cocktail and culinary experience hosted by Montana-based CAF athlete and professional chef, Eduardo Garcia. Known as the “Bionic Chef,” Garcia cooks with a prosthetic left arm, the result of a hunting accident in 2011. At 7:15 pm, NBC Celebrity host Dylan Dreyer will showcase CAF’s programming and inclusive community with featured stories about how challenged athletes navigated the pandemic.

These stories feature:

  • Selah Gilbert (Age 9) of Denver Colorado was found in China one week after birth abandoned near a bridge. She was taken to an orphanage until age 3, when she was adopted and came to the US with her forever family. She is a below-knee amputee and has a short left arm that ends above the elbow with 2 digits and a longer right arm that ends with no fingers or thumbs. Her elbow on her right side is not developed and is fused. Additionally, she was born with a cleft lip and palate. Her recent CAF grant, will enable her to run, snowboard and learn Kung Fu martial arts. Paralympic Snowboarder, Amy Purdy gives back to help Selah learn to use her new Össur running prosthetic.
  • Landis Sims (Age 15) a baseball player and quadruple amputee, just made his high school baseball team in Elizabeth, Indiana. He has earned the respect of the New York Yankees and was able to show off his hitting skills while taking batting practice with the Yankees during Spring Training. Landis also threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Yankee game and has represented the Yankees during the MLB Draft. Landis was granted Össur running prosthetics with the MLB Network in 2020 which makes it possible for him to play on his high school team, his lifelong dream.

Through CAF’s 2021 grant distribution, challenged athletes in 49 states, Puerto Rico and 52 countries have recently received a variety of grants representing $5.1 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, the release continues.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Challenged Athletes Foundation.

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

Related Content:
Challenged Athletes Foundation Distributes $5.1M in Grants
Challenged Athletes Foundation’s Virtual 2020 Heroes of Sport Celebration Featured Surprise Guests