World Champion Adventure Racer Robyn Benincasa has some New Year inspiration to share with us. Here she updates us on an athlete who has surpassed all odds to live a healthy, positive life. Here’s what she has to say:
Hello Friends!! Just wanted to share this “Christmas Gift” that every one of you gave to our Florida Keys Athena, Alli Morgan. She became an above-the-knee amputee 16 months ago after 4 years on crutches following infections from a knee surgery at 17 years old. Tough decision. Brave kid. In November, she became one of four Athenas to kayak and ride 129 miles from Key Largo to Key West.
Here’s a note to us/you from her after the adventure. She is now a volunteer for the Project Athena Foundation, with the mission of helping other Athenas to find us and live their own adventurous dreams!
From Alli Morgan:
“…I’ve witnessed firsthand the power the foundation has on making a positive impact on not only the lives of the Athenas, gods, and goddesses, but all those who hear about and are inspired by the PAF mission. I know this experience hasn’t just shaped my life, but has undoubtedly extended to impact those in my life who weren’t in the Keys with us physically. The more people we can extend the opportunity of adventure to, the more that will also benefit indirectly. I think everyone that is touched by the foundation, in whatever capacity, carries with them a piece of the renewed sense of spirit Project Athena stands for.
I’m excited about getting more Athenas involved in this experience. For me, I find difficultly in adequately explaining the true scope of the impact it has had on my life. I think back to when I was 17, lying in the hospital, when I first found the PAF website. At a point in my life when the uncertainty of my situation was daunting to say the least, I found hope in the words of the mission statement. It wasn’t the athletic feats or sheer strength of these women I read about that so inspired me, (although Kona and the Seven Summits are certainly ways to my heart), it was the sense of shared experience, of community, of the idea that we’re stronger together than alone, that really kept me going. Although our battles may have different names, the knowledge that there are people out there who aren’t just surviving but are thriving, was enough to keep me going.
I know I’m ranting here, but I think that there is something to be said for getting people involved earlier in their recovery process. Although when I applied, I never anticipated my health getting as bad as it did, I’m grateful I had the PAF support and the hope of eventual adventure to keep me motivated and inspired. I think for those in the midst of treatment and recovery, those who may not be able to physically train for an event/adventure yet can still hugely benefit from the interaction with the PAF community and following the adventures in spirit.
Please know that you guys are making a difference. Everyday, in more ways than you’ll ever know.”
How awesome is that?! Thank you, thank you, thank you for helping us to help these awesome Survivors get their groove back through adventures that allow them to amaze themselves – and inspire all of us. You really are changing lives. Here’s a great shot of Alli (and our other Athenas, Goddesses, and Gods) on the final day and at the finish line!