In 2007, I began the transition from doing “well” in adventure races to doing “good” for Survivors. After 20 years of endurance racing, I discovered I had stage four osteoarthritis in both of my hips and would need two hip replacements (I’m now fully bionic!). In the spirit of “Being Ruled by the Hope of Success versus the Fear of Failure” and “Embracing Setbacks as a Chance to Learn and Excel” (two principles I try to live by!), I organized a team of elite female athlete Survivors and, with the help of my friends at CPS, Merrell Shoes, Zanfel, and Wigwam Socks, founded the Project Athena Foundation, with the goal of helping other Survivors of medical or traumatic setbacks live an adventurous dream as part of their recovery.
Together we are better than we could ever be alone….I had learned this life principle through competing in and winning the toughest races on earth with Team Merrell. Now the universe was telling me that it was time to take those adventure skills and help others regain their confidence and amaze themselves on their journey back from the edge. In the past five years, my team of coaches (aka ‘Chief Inspiration Officers’) and hundreds of ‘Fundraising Goddesses/Gods’ have taken Survivors to do awe inspiring things like run a marathon on the Great Wall of China, hike across the Grand Canyon, and kayak and cycle 100 miles from Key Largo to Key West. In is in these moments in which we are giving our sweat, footsteps, hope, comfort, empathy (and cheetos!) to one another, surrounded by the love and support of other human beings, that we are all our best, most enlightened selves. And seeing our new ‘Athenas’ cross these finish lines, transformed and transcendent on their mission from Survivor to Adventure Athlete, is a gift beyond measure. Who knew that GIVING a hike with a team would be even more inspiring than taking one?
If you know of a Survivor that we can help with an adventure grant, or if you’d like to participate in one of our adventures as a Fundraising God/Goddess (The CPS Saddleback Summit Hike, the Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim trek, the Moab Trail Marathon or the Florida Keys Multisport Adventure anyone?), please check out www.projectathena.org!
And THANK YOU, friends of The Holden’s and Team CPS for hiking, running, riding, and paddling with our Survivors and Fundraisers every step of the way!
Excellence, Passion, Integrity, Collaboration and Creativity – our core values since 1974
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