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Challenged Athletes Foundation



Together, we can give challenged athletes the gift of sport. 


By raising “$2K A Day” throughout December we can give at least 31 challenged athletes grants to fund adaptive equipment, training and coaching, competition expenses or mentoring. Just as importantly, your gift will provide priceless self-esteem, confidence and motivation that will help challenged athletes succeed in the game of life. 


Help us bridge the funding gap and make the season bright for challenged athletes. Make your tax deductible gift today and help CAF grant even more wishes in 2014. 


CAF2013_11454Regardless of age or circumstance, determination cannot be taught – Dylan Jones doesn’t strive for success to counter the pressure of having a prosthetic leg.  He does so because that is who he is as a human being.  At ten-years-old, Dylan wants to be an actor, a model, a dancer and a track star.  In the 2012 Endeavor Games, Dylan came home with five gold medals without even using a proper running prosthetic. This year, he was able to attend with the Össur Flex-Run granted to him by the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), where he won another five golds!

Dylan’s introduction to the world of sports through running has opened the door to baseball, karate and long boarding. He attended his first San Diego Triathlon Challenge last month, where his infectious smile and positive attitude made him stand out from the crowd. His motto is “Dream Big, Live Big!” and it shows.

Dylan is constantly training and taking the opportunities given to him.  Success isn’t measured in relativity to Dylan’s disability; success is the aspiration to be great no matter what, and with this insurmountable level of drive, CAF is proud to sponsor this young athlete as he pursues his dreams.

Dylan Jones currently lives in Kansas while being signed with a talent agent in LA.  He was a model and actor for the DECA project, “So What Campaign”, and a gold medalist in the 20m, 60m, 100m, 200m, and 400m in the 2012 and 2013 Endeavor Games. 

By: Heather Rose


The Challenged Athletes Foundation is an amazing organization. We drove 24 hours to be there for Abel’s first Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge. The first night’s dinner was fabulous and laid back, just like being with family. It was incredible to meet the amazing athletes, their families, and to be in California, a beautiful place we had never been.  I can say we already miss it and are ready to go back. Abel enjoyed all the kids running about and playing.

After dinner the kids took off and played in the game trucks. Abel and Ella made some awesome new friends: Alana and Carolyn. All the parents had a great meet and greet with athletes from the Paralympics and the parents of the other athletes, which gave everyone more perspective. Parents were able to ask questions and get the answers they needed. It was very informative.

Friday was the awesome surf clinic and swim. The beautiful weather and all the kids playing and talking was a great sight to see. All the kids loved the surfing. Proud moments were born watching these kids get up on the board and take that wave. The smiles from that experience will carry on for years.

After that, was the welcoming of the Million Dollar Challenge riders and a picnic. Watching all these families welcome their riders home was a touching moment. We got to meet all the families as the kids played games. Abel played his little heart out and made great new friends for life. This was also his first time playing t-ball and golf. We also attended a great dinner that night. It was more up style and buffet style foods which was great for the kids. Awards followed for the amazing athletes.abel kids run

Saturday’s events were so awesome to watch and very memorable even though we didn’t participate. Abel enjoyed watching his new friends and cheering them on. Then it was off to the CAF headquarters for the runners to sign in for the triathlon. Abel got to sit in his very first racing chair and guess what, he’s hooked. We stayed around and talked with other people and families.

I was told Sunday is the “big day.” Boy they weren’t kidding, “big” is an understatement. This thing is huge. What an amazing event. Thousands of people making their way around, both seeing and cheering on athletes. There were activities for all the kids to enjoy, which Ella loved. Once again, the weather was amazing. Touching stories were told and life changing experiences were had.

Wrapping things up I will say we are so thankful for this wonderful organization. With it, they are changing the world and helping kids and adults no matter the ability. We departed there sad to leave all the wonderful families we had met and the amazing staff of CAF. But the happiness of these events and the welcoming, kind-hearted staff has made our hearts full and given us even more  hope for the future.

Abel Rose at SDTC with medal

Special shout out to Carolyn Odom and Travis Ricks for making sure we were where we should be and made everything very comfortable. We miss you guys! So happy you both are a part of Abel’s Journey.





annika van der meer photoThe joy and relief from regaining what was once lost is often immeasurable and insurmountable, even for the smallest thing.  For Annika Van Der Meer, it meant reviving a passion for skiing that was thought lost to her lack of a working leg.

An ACL tear when Annika was 19 led to an inevitable surgery two years later.  Unfortunately, oxygen was cut off from the leg during surgery, causing permanent muscle damage and a build-up of toxins that only made things worse when blood flow returned to normal.  The lack of muscle tone led to the dislocation of bones and a permanent leg cast.  It wasn’t until several years later a doctor who understood what happened got a look at Annika and explained to her the compartment syndrome in her leg.  In 2008, she received her first orthotic, allowing her to stand and walk again.  One year later, she was playing sports again.

When the Dutch ski federation called to ask her to join an adaptive ski team, Annika said yes before she even realized she hadn’t skied since before her surgery.  After a year of hard work, Annika got invited to train with the national team, attending training sessions with able-bodied athletes.  Annika was also able to receive a better orthotic through sports, improving her posture, agility, and athletic success.  With such a young career, Annika has shown the dedication and skill to be a top tier athlete as she strives to make the 2014 Paralympics.

Annika recently qualified for the European Cup in Slalom and is still training with the National Team but has to pay out-of-pocket for training expenses.  CAF is proud to support such a determined athlete in reaching such a high caliber and wish her the best in the upcoming season.  Annika is also chasing her dreams of being a doctor and is currently in medical school; she volunteers at the Children’s Hospital in Leiden in her spare time.


It’s known as “The Best Day in Triathlon” and the 20th Anniversary Aspen
Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge did not disappoint.

This Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge brought together our biggest crowd yet to participate, honor and celebrate the power of the human spirit over adversity. We welcomed our pioneering athletes, whom we’ve watched grow through the years. We honored top supporters who toed the very first SDTC start line. And we embraced new participants like survivors from the Boston Marathon bombings as they learned just what a ‘running leg’ can do or where a ‘handcycle’ can take you.

All told, the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge, 24 Hour Fitness Tour de Cove and Kaiser Permanente Thrive-5K Walk raised close to $1.26 million. In addition, this year’s Dodge Million Dollar Challenge once again exceeded its goal and raised $1.45 million to get challenged athletes back in the game of life. More importantly, through all CAF’s October events, friendships were made and renewed; barriers were broken; and, lives were changed — for both challenged and able-bodied athletes alike.

Since the first SDTC in 1994, we have borne witness to 20 Years That Changed the World. Just imagine what we’ll accomplish with your help in the next 20 years.

Thank you for making it possible.

20TH-ANNIVERSARY-VIDEO                View-photos


You marveled at the SWIM. Watched the BIKE. And cheered for the RUN.

Now learn more about the HEART of SDTC.

You may have seen this cutie popping wheelies around La Jolla Cove. Abel Rose joined us at SDTC just after his second birthday and participated in his very first Kid’s Run, earning his first event medal - which he now will only take off to sleep.

Many inspirational athletes crossed the

SDTC finish line on Sunday. Among those were Celeste, Heather and Roseann, three Boston Marathon survivors who have now become part of the CAF family and benefitted from your support.

Just two years ago, Moise, who lost three limbs in a motorcycle accident, thought his life was over. Now, sports have given him happiness and new confidence. And with a surprise grant for a membership from 24 Hour Fitness, he will be able to continue to train towards his goal – cycling in the 2016 Paralympic Games.

A motocross accident left Ricky James a paraplegic in his teens, but he never never lost the need for speed. So what else would he do after completing 3 full IRONMAN® and 3 IRONMAN® 70.3 events this year? Ride every mile of the 7-day, 620-mile Dodge Million Dollar Challenge of course!

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