Tuesday, November 26, 2013

San Diego: Challenged Athletes Foundation

We were introduced to CAF (Challenged Athletes Foundation) a few years ago at the Endeavor Games and have been so impressed with this organization. In short, CAF provides grants, sports opportunities, etc to support the athletic endeavors of people with physical challenges. And they do it all with incredible excellence.

A couple years ago we were invited by CAF to attend their biggest weekend of the year- the San Diego Triathalon Challenge. It was an amazing event for Elias to be surrounded with amputees participating in sports with him for five days. So we were ecstatic when they offered to sponsor him again to attend this year.

CAF planned a full, long weekend with dinners, sport activities, and clinics all culminating with the Triathalon on Sunday. What is most significant about all of these events is the close relationships that are developed throughout as we all share stories, tips and ideas with one another. It's nice to be in a place with others who just "get" what it's like to have a child with a disability. CAF recognizes that this community is the most treasured part of the events and does a great job at facilitating these connections.

Seeing Elias run around with his posse of friends who all wear prosthetics is just priceless. They push each other to try new challenges and have fun while doing it.
It's especially touching to see the older athletes take intentional time to encourage and inspire the younger athletes around them. In this picture below Elias is running with one of his new friends Paul that he met a couple day prior. Paul is training to be on the Paralympic team and quickly became someone that Elias looks up to tremendously. During the Kids Fun Run, Elias kept tripping on cracks in the street and fell several times. Paul helped pick him up and then ran with him the rest of the race, even holding his hand a few times. It was so special for Elias!

One of the best events was surfing! Elias had a personal surf instructor to teach him the basics. He was nervous at first but then quickly got the hang of it and had a blast.


These new friends from South Africa fell in love with sweet Tessa
Elias was determined to complete his first 5 K. And he did it!

Quick family photo during the (beautiful) 5K

Doing exercises during the running clinic with Sara Reinertsen


Kids Stretch before their little fun run
 We can't wait to go back again in a couple of years!

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