“It’s not about trying to get back to what you were. It’s about
trying to be the best of what you’re capable of today, this minute. The most
gratifying thing is the moment when you see someone realize they’re going to
make it, when you see the fear disappear and they realize how awesome they
truly are!” Robyn Benincasa, Founder
Project Athena Foundation
This April (4/28 -5/1), I will
be taking a 2-day, 50-mile adventure with women survivors of medical or other
traumatic setbacks. These women have trained
for months to build the strength and endurance to live out their dreams of a
physical adventure. The women are sponsored by the Project Athena
Foundation. This non-profit foundation
provides travel expenses, coaching, equipment, and most importantly, the
encouragement and inspiration needed to help these strong, amazing women make
that life-affirming transition from Survivor to Athlete.
I became familiar with their
mission through its founder, Robyn Benincasa. I had the pleasure of meeting and working
with Robyn, in her role as an award-winning motivational speaker. Robyn
is a World Champion Adventure Racer, 3x Guinness World Record kayaker, San
Diego firefighter, and a 10x Ironman triathlete. Sure, that is impressive (and
intimidating) but her most difficult challenge was coming back from the
devastating diagnosis of stage-four osteoarthritis in both hips. The
degenerative joint disease forced this lifelong triathlon competitor to give up
racing altogether. But after four hip replacements in just five years, Robyn
found it was not the setback, but the comeback that made the difference. She created the Project Athena Foundation as a
way of rebuilding her spirit and the spirits of women like her.
To participate, I commit to train for 16 weeks and meet certain
training milestones. So far, I have
finished week 7 and put in over 100 miles on trails. Training includes hours of
weighted GPS-tracked hikes EVERY WEEK, as well as plenty of cross training. All
the hard work and sweat and sore muscles will be worth being a part of an
incredible adventure that can empower women who have already endured so much.
Along with the training, I have volunteered to raise $2,500 to
support an Athena on this 3 day adventure. Many parts of this journey are
pushing me outside my comfort zone, but asking for donations is particularly difficult
for me. I can tackle the training, but I need your help to meet the fundraising
goal. Every dollar donated goes directly toward helping these survivors achieve
their adventurous dreams. A (tax-deductible) gift from you - small or large
- will help and is really appreciated.
Also, I welcome any encouragement with my training. Needless to mention, if you are looking for a
walking partner, I am available!
Thank you for reading this and for any support you can give. Donating through this website is simple, fast and totally secure. And whether you donate or not, please check in on this page occasionally. I will post training pictures as well as pictures, videos, and stories from the trek.
Many thanks, Mary Pat