Challenged Athletes Foundation

week 29:  this week i'm gonna... provide sports opportunities for all

Noah and Lucas Aldrich

Noah and Lucas Aldrich

Never underestimate brotherly love.

For Noah Aldrich (age 10) and his brother, Lucas (age 8) of Boise, Idaho, love has fueled an amazing partnership. The two boys participate in triathlons together, but because Lucas is a full-time wheelchair user, Noah tows, pedals, and pushes him through the race. Lucas suffers from Lissencephaly, a rare brain malformation that prevents him from talking or walking, but according to his mother, "he’s the happiest little guy you can ever imagine, and he just loves being around people."

Lucas especially loves being around his big brother, Noah, who states, "I like everything about Lucas. He's perfect."

Noah and Lucas share an amazing bond and do everything together, including watching cartoons, going on walks, and riding bikes (with Lucas in his special buggy). So two years ago when Noah decided he wanted to participate in a local YMCA youth triathlon, he knew Lucas would join him - even if it meant pulling and pushing him every step of the way.

Noah swimming and towing his brother, Lucas.

With the help of trainer Willie Stewart and Challenged Athletes Foundation, Noah and Lucas trained for almost three months. On the day of the big race, it was a hot 95 degrees. For the swimming portion, Noah had a harness around his chest that was attached to an inflatable raft that held Lucas. He swam 200 meters, then biked for three miles while pulling Lucas in a bike trailer, and finally ran one mile while pushing Lucas in the special buggy. 

When the boys finished the race, both were grinning ear to ear. It was clear that this was not going to be their last race. 

The boys are currently training for the Y Not Triathlon this upcoming Saturday, July 23rd, in Boise. You can follow them on their Facebook page or their website, and you can see more about their inspirational story in the video below.

Established in 1994, the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) recognizes the athletic greatness inherent in all people with physical challenges and supports their athletic endeavors by providing unparalleled sports opportunities that lead to success in sports and in life.

The organization operates the following programs:

  1. Access for Athletes - provides grants for equipment such as sports wheelchairs, handcycles, mono skis and sports prosthetics, and resources for training and competition expenses
  2. Operation Rebound® - offers funding for equipment, training, and competition expenses to American military personnel, veterans, and first responders with physical challenges
  3. Catch a Rising Star - provides post-rehabilitation support and mentoring to individuals who have suffered a traumatic injury, have a physically impairing disease, or were born with a congenital impairment resulting in a physical disability
  4. Reach High - provides information, resources, and opportunities to people with physical challenges, enabling them to make informed decisions about health, lifestyle, and medical choices
  5. Project N.Ex.T. (New Expectations Today) - connects physically challenged mentees with similarly disabled mentors who provide one-on-one support as role models and partners

For more info, please watch the following video.

Femita Ayanbeku receiving her new prosthetic foot.

Femita Ayanbeku receiving her new prosthetic foot.

Last November, Challenged Athletes Foundation and Össur Orthopaedics put on their annual Boston Running and Mobility Clinic, where more than 30 attendees using prosthetic limbs learned to walk and run with proper technique through drills and exercises.  At the clinic, Femita Ayanbeku, a 23-year old Bostonite who lost her leg at the age of 12 in an automobile accident, received a grant for a custom Össur Flex-Run™ prosthetic foot. Femita has used this foot to train, and she was recently selected to join the USA track and field team in the upcoming Paralympic Games in Rio.

Femita is very active within the local amputee community and has a life-goal of starting a rehab/recreation facility specifically for amputees. She recently started a nonprofit organization called Limb-It-Less Creations, whose mission is to provide support to the amputee community while encouraging a lifestyle with no limits. Cheer for her this September in Rio!

Notes for this week:

  • We wish the Aldrich brothers good luck in their race this Saturday!
  • Our collective givetwig donation will sponsor a portion of a grant to provide adaptive sports equipment for an athlete.
  • For more information regarding Challenged Athletes Foundation, please check out their website.

this week i'm gonna donate to Challenged Athletes Foundation.

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