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Challenged Athletes Foundation Holds Eighth Annual Gala, Raises $2.3 Million

Posted June 16, 2014

Notables from Wall Street, the world of sports, and broadcast media came together on June 11 in New York City to support inspirational challenged athletes at the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) Eighth Annual “A Celebration of Heroes, Heart and Hope” gala. More than 850 guests filled the Grand Ballroom at the historic Waldorf Astoria to both celebrate and raise funds for CAF’s mission to help those with physical challenges live active and healthy lifestyles.

Photograph of Alana Nichols and Braylon O’Neil courtesy of CAF.

In eight years, the gala has raised more than $10 million, and this year’s event alone raised a record-breaking $2.3 million to fund equipment, travel, and training expenses and provide mentoring and free sports clinics for challenged athletes.

The evening, which was hosted by The TODAY Show’s Natalie Morales and Willie Geist, featured stories of heroic and triumphant challenged athletes, including the following:

  • Celeste Corcoran, a Boston Marathon bombing survivor who lost both her legs but certainly not her spirit.
  • Alana Nichols, the first female Paralympian, or Olympian, to win gold in both Summer and Winter Games (wheelchair basketball in the 2008 Beijing Summer Games; downhill sit-ski and giant slalom sit-ski in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Games).
  • Braylon O’Neill, a 5-year-old double lower-limb amputee who captured the hearts of millions starring in the Microsoft Super Bowl commercial.

For more information about CAF, visit