Challenged Athletes Foundation Announces Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope

New York – Said to be one of the most inspirational and motivational events in New York City, the fifth annual A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope gala will benefit the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and feature fun, entertainment and unforgettable stories of achievement and bravery.

Taking place June 8 at the historical Waldorf Astoria, this year's gala honors Martin E. Franklin, Chairman and CEO of Jarden Corporation, and includes special entertainment by Macy Gray.

"It's exciting to bring the CAF story home to New York and share the unique way in which this organization touches the lives of thousands," said Scott Stackman, CAF Board member and Senior Vice President of UBS Financial Services. "I want to have others be touched, the way it has touched me and changed my life," he said.

Proceeds from the Heroes, Heart and Hope gala will be used to raise funds for and awareness of physically challenged athletes. Attended by celebrity guests, professional athletes and sports legends from the world of triathlon, basketball, baseball and more, the evening's program will showcase stories of physically challenged athletes breaking barriers and exhibiting boundless perseverance. Highlighted athletes will include:

  • Oscar "Blade Runner" Pistorius, who won the world's attention when he challenged perceptions
  • Kaela Cruz, a ten year-old little girl who lost her leg to cancer yet knows no limitations
  • Col. Greg Gadson, who made the ultimate sacrifice to his country and continues to rise above preconceived expectations

This year's honoree is Martin E. Franklin, CEO of Jarden Corporation, a global Fortune 500 consumer products company with 6.5 billion dollars in annual revenues. An avid outdoorsman, Franklin has completed over 50 marathons, triathlons and other ultra-endurance events.

"To be an Honoree for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and represent such an incredible group of people is humbling" said Franklin. "I have the utmost respect for those who are brave enough to rise above adversity. I am very proud and honored to be associated with CAF," he added.

CAF hopes to raise one million dollars at this year's event which will include a live auction featuring unique travel adventures and once in a lifetime experiences such as the Grammy Awards and the World Series. Additionally, there will be a chance to bid on and win a coveted spot in the Ford Ironman World Championship held annually in Kona, HI.

This year's sponsors include the Jeffrey A. Altman Foundation, Martin & Julie Franklin, Dodge, Stephen and Amandine Freidheim, Ironman, Cindi and David Samson and Family, Scott Stackman, Gary and Rachel Sumers, Gates Capital Management, Gary Gilbert, Men's Health Magazine, Mutual of America, Gail Stackman, Dax & Rielly Viassis and ZICO.

More details about the Heroes, Heart and Hope gala and auction can be found at www.challengedathletes.org or call (858) 866-0959.

Challenged Athletes Foundation

The Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) is a world leader in helping individuals with physical challenges get involved—and stay involved—in sports. CAF believes that participation in sports at any level increases self-esteem, encourages independence and enhances quality of life. Since 1994, more than $30 million has been raised and almost 5,000 funding requests from challenged athletes in all 50 states and dozens of countries have been satisfied. Additionally, CAF's outreach efforts reach 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 those with the desire to live active, athletic lifestyles every opportunity to compete in the sports they love. To learn more, log on to www.challengedathletes.org or call 858-866-0959.

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