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Capital Region Businesses, Donors Raise $25,000 for Kids & Veterans with Disabilities

(West Sand Lake, NY, 6/24/21) – Regional athletes with disabilities from STRIDE Adaptive Sports had a lot to cheer about this past Saturday when they crossed the 5K finish line at Jennings Landing in Albany. Thanks to a generous group of regional businesses led by presenting sponsor American National Insurance – as well as many individual donors – the 12th Annual Strides 4 STRIDE event raised $25,000 supporting sports and recreation programs for participants with disabilities. Funding supports hundreds of individuals with different abilities to enjoy  healthy, active lifestyles through STRIDE Adaptive Sports programs.

According to STRIDE Founder/CEO, Mary Ellen Whitney, the event has always been a strong fund raising sporting activity to help keep STRIDE’s adaptive sports programs available and make way for growth and new programs. “We were unsure how this event would fare going into it for the first time post pandemic,” explains Whitney. “We were the first in-person event at Jennings Landing and the first running event for AREEP.  Although attendance was  much lower than typical, the Capital Region is a supportive community that rallies around the people we serve in the name of equality and inclusion. The $25,000 we raised is at the level of our pre-Covid numbers, and that is something special considering the large number of nonprofits that are economically struggling.. For STRIDE and our athletes, it will mean expansion and growth as we continue to add new classes at our adaptive fitness center in West Sand Lake.”

Megan Evans, STRIDE’s Program Director, added that the day was full of personal victories. “We’re fond of showing our athletes that what people call disabilities are often just different abilities,” said Evans. “We had athletes cross the finish line in wheelchairs, special adaptive bicycles, and even walking at their own pace. Congressman Paul Tonko (D) and Assemblyman Jake Ashby (R ) delivered words of hope and inspiration, encouraging athletes and celebrating diversity. One athlete, Kiernan Hills (11) who has Down Syndrome (Chatham, NY) had an epic experience, finishing his first race and won first place as an individual fundraiser.. He crossed the finish line with supporter Jon Phillips ( Phillips Hardware) and  bonded a friendship. This led to a future mentorship with Jon’s son Dylan and plans to attend sporting events together.

Sponsors that helped make Kiernan’s special day possible are: American National Insurance (Presenting Sponsor), as well as AllSquare Wealth Management, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals; CAP COM Federal Credit Union; NPA Financial, Lavelle & Finn, LLP, DeCrescente Distributing Company, Rust-Oleum, and Stars 4 Troops. In-kind sponsors included Hannaford and Stewarts.

Photos from the event:

Info about STRIDE Programs can be directed to Megan Evans, Program Director, at
518-598-1279, [email protected]. Information on event sponsorship opportunities can be directed to Patrick Hayslett, Development Director, at 518-598-1279, [email protected].  

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