I will be competing in the 35th Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon on October 21, 2012, using a hand-crank wheelchair. This opportunity was provided by Achilles.
In 2004, Achilles International launched the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. An extension of the Achilles process of physical strengthening, building confidence, and generating a supportive community, the program was adapted to the specific needs of wounded U.S. soldiers of all branches. Program participants receive training as well as use of specialized adaptive devices, such as hand-crank wheelchairs, which is what I use. While the goal is to enter and complete in a marathon, the program stresses “achievable accomplishment,” encouraging participants to begin by training for a less-demanding competition, such as our 5-mile “Hope and Possibility” race. This allows the soldiers to experience success and build confidence. Since it’s inception, we have expanded the program to two additional hospitals: Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego, CA; and Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. All injured military personnel and veterans are eligible for the program, whether the injury is combat or non-combat related.
With all of that in mind, does your charitable foundation meet the strategic goals of your social responsibility programs and receive valuable brand exposure through support of non-profit organizations that promote the well-being of wounded combat veterans? In sponsoring my efforts as a disabled U.S. Army Infantry combat veteran and hand-cyclist for the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans, your organization’s brand could be associated with their inspiring mission of helping recently wounded military veterans at Walter Reed Hospital and abroad find personal achievement and self esteem through participation in mainstream athletics. Providing these wounded warriors with this kind of opportunity is phenomenal to their overall recovery and aids in boosting morale after the downside experiences of combat in Iraq or Afghanistan. Please email me if you are interested in brand exposure and I will contact the Achilles Team director to get you started! You may be asking, “why is this mission important to you or your company?” Let me explain why I think it is important and then you can decide.
In recent years, the suicide rate among veterans, particularly those injured in battle, has risen substantially, leading to an epidemic of unknown proportions. In a recent investigation, CBS News discovered that the rate of suicide among young veterans was an estimated two to four times higher than any other age group. The new preliminary data released by the Department of Veterans Affairs shows the suicide rate went up 26 percent from 2005 to 2007. Of these veterans, almost all served in Iraq, Afghanistan, or some other theater of combat. This data indicates that the statistics for 2010 will be much higher as we continually embrace conflicts in other countries. Whether you support the ongoing war efforts, or you are totally against the war, these veterans need help to find ways to face their problems and to release their stress, without harm to themselves or others. Of the 30,000 suicides each year in America, about 20 percent are committed by veterans. How can we, as responsible and concerned citizens, reduce this number?
Let me introduce you to my sponsor, and phenomenal supporter of our combat veterans, The Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans. In 2004, Achilles International launched the Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans program at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Program participants receive training as well as use of specialized adaptive devices, such as hand-crank wheelchairs. While the goal is to enter and complete a marathon, the program stresses “achievable accomplishment,” encouraging participants to begin by training for a less-demanding competition, such as their New York 5-mile “Hope and Possibility” race. This allows the soldiers to experience success, build confidence, and ultimately, an exceptional suicide prevention program.
So you see, the program is a great way to decrease the statistical significance of suicide among combat exposed veterans. Whether the combat was Vietnam, Korea, Mogadishu, Iraq, Afghanistan, or any other conflict zone, all combat veterans are eligible to be a part of the program. With all of this in mind, the program does require support to be an active supporter to our veterans. This is where the companies and individual supporters come in…
But, where does your money go? On an individual level, your donation, of any amount, makes a difference in someone's life. Whether it's disabled veterans rebuilding their lives and their confidence, or children with disabilities discovering a sense of accomplishment in racing with able-bodied kids, gifts to Achilles have a tangible impact.
Achilles high profile events include the ING New York Marathon, as well as most major marathons throughout the US and the world. Sponsorship of any of the Achilles programs not only creates an opportunity for brand exposure through brand signage, brand acknowledgment on print and web materials, brand-logo clothing, and PR mentions, it enhances the perception of your brand’s social values and actions.
The effectiveness of their programs depends on the dedication and hard work of the Achilles organization, and the generous support of people like you. Here are some of the things your donations can buy:
- $3,500 purchases one hand-crank wheelchair for an Achilles athlete to use in a mainstream marathon
- $1,000 sponsors a year of running, walking, and rolling for children with disabilities in the Achilles Kids School Program
- $500 sponsors one international athlete in the ING NYC Marathon
- $250 sponsors one domestic athlete in the ING NYC Marathon
- $100 purchases five pairs of running shoes for low-income children with disabilities in the Achilles Kids program.
- $50 purchases 10 Achilles T-shirts for members to wear at mainstream races
As a member of the Achilles Freedom Team, I aspire to be the best in the sport of hand-cycling. This is just the beginning of a long-term relationship with Achilles, and you, or your company. I am competitive in the United States and potentially Internationally. On October 31, 2010, I accomplished the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC in a astonishing time of 1h46m, in the hand-cycle division. This is remarkable time for a first marathon. If you would like to learn more on how you can support my future efforts to assist our injured military veterans, please visit: http://firstgiving.com/gregsapp. I set a goal to raise $3,500 in one year, but I can’t do it alone. I surpassed my previous goal to raise $1,500 for the Christopher Reeve Foundation and raised $4,160!. Will you support my cause and my love for our disabled military veterans by making a donation of any amount to Achilles, or by donating an item to be raffled? Thank you for your consideration and time regarding this extraordinary organization.
Disabled U.S. Army Iraq Combat Veteran
1807 Chandler Rd.
Georgia Villas 23
Statesboro, GA 30458
For detailed information about market exposure possibilities, please contact Genna Griffith, Director of the Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans at:
email@example.com or 212-354-0300 ext 307.
MISSION: The mission of Achilles International is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics, to promote personal achievement, enhanced self-esteem, and the lowering of barriers between people.
LEGAL: Achilles International is a registered 501(c)(3) organization: Tax ID: 13-3318293
I am featured in an episode of “Mystery Diagnosis” — a program on Discovery Health that features real-life medical mysteries of two separate people. Filmed in June, “The Toddler Who Stopped Walking” includes interviews with my medical staff and relatives along with several reenactments of the days I was paralyzed and the consequent rehabilitation. My portion is the second part of the show. Check your local provider for times
Other features about my story:
George-Anne Daily: http://shar.es/0hfG9 & http://shar.es/0hfcI
Savannah Morning News:
Savannah Morning News: