At the end of February I received a message from a girlfriend (the one I do adventure races with) who was attending a corporate retreat up north. She sent me a bunch of text messages asking if I had ever heard of Robyn Benincasa. Robyn is an ex-extreme adventure racer, has had several hip replacements and was now a motivational speaker and at her conference. And at the end of all this information was a video from Robyn herself.
My friend had told her my story and Robyn wanted me to apply for a grant through the Project Athena Foundation (her foundation) to complete an adventure in the Grand Canyon with her in August.
Project Athena’s Mission: ‘To help women who have survived medical or other traumatic challenges reach new athletic goals and achieve their adventurous dreams.’
Well at the beginning of March I applied for the grant. And not only did I get the grant I was offered to partake in a 24 hour multi sport race in Santa Barbara in June! (The grant covers a large amount of expenses that are required for such a race and part of the travel required to get to Santa Barbara). This race involves sea kayaking, hiking and mountain biking. It’s an endurance strategy, not a race to the finish line.
To say I was floored is probably an understatement. I was blown away. I could not believe it. I just broke down following the phone call. Not only was there a chance I didn’t get the grant, I also did not anticipate hearing back as quickly as March 20 (they only review applications quarterly) but they also gave me the option for a different adventure then what I applied for (based on my history, health and current training being done for Storm the Trent at the end of May). An adventure that I never dreamed would be possible.
A ton of emotions ran through me the days and weeks following. Shock, happiness, anxiety, fear and almost anything else you can think of. There was also so much I had to do to get final sign off and confirmation that I could actually take part (health waivers, etc.).
Now that everything is signed off and sent in, I’ve got most of my equipment and training is well on it’s way with no major physical roadblocks, I wanted to share with everyone the exciting, once in a lifetime opportunity that I have been given. It’s going to be a challenge to train and complete but I am ready!
If you or anyone you know would be interesting in partaking in an adventure, applying for a grant or donating to the foundation please visit their website (link at the be bottom) or find them on Facebook or Instagram.
Cheers to new opportunities and adventures.