July - August 2019 Newsletter

Ready, Set, Go! Achilles athletes and guides are pumped and ready to go at the 2019 Achilles Connecticut Hope & Possibility ®  presented by Cigna.

Ready, Set, Go! Achilles athletes and guides are pumped and ready to go at the 2019 Achilles Connecticut Hope & Possibility® presented by Cigna.

It’s a joy to work out in NYC’s Central Park, particularly on Saturday mornings. Typically, we have over 100 members running. There are Achilles Kids, the Triathlon team, our handcycle group and dozens of athletes with disabilities taking part in the chapter workout. What many people do not realize is that we have 30 chapters throughout the United States and 56 chapters around the world. Our biggest Hope & Possibility® race, this year presented by TD Bank, draws several thousand people to Central Park in late June. As our signature race, Hope & Possibility® is also run elsewhere. You could run the race in Connecticut or New Jersey or Nashville. You could compete in Germany, Poland, Russia, Norway, Japan, South Africa, even Mongolia! In September, Mongolia’s President Khaltmaagiin Battulga will guide an Achilles athlete in the race. Over 3,000 will be running with him in Ulaanbaatar.

Following Achilles New Jersey’s lead, NYC will work to expand Hope & Possibility® to include a virtual run. Yes, if you cannot be present, you can still participate! The dream is to have teams from at least 50 countries and over 100 locations participate. They will run, wheel or walk the distance in groups on courses designed by our chapters throughout the U.S. and around the world. 

Learn more about our national and international events on our website.

Thank you all for your support. Every donation helps keep us going.



Don't forget, if you shop at Amazon please shop at https://smile.amazon.com. When you shop here, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible products to the charitable organization of your choice. Be sure to select Achilles! This can generate a lot of money if we can make it a simple habit for 10,000 people on our contacts + thousands of others in our personal social media contacts. Thank you!


In conjunction with our premium apparel partner Champion System, a worldwide leader in custom technical apparel, new pieces and Achilles classics are available for a limited time by clicking here.

At the end of August, Champion Systems will ship all orders. Please note that all items are custom-made and cannot be returned or exchanged. If you have any questions about ordering with Champion Systems, please contact Ben Woodbury.


It was a picture-perfect day in NYC’s Central Park on June 23rd! Broadway superstar Norm Lewis kicked off the 17th Annual Hope & Possibility® 4M by TD Bank with his glorious rendition of The Star-Spangled Banner. Over 5,000 people crossed the finish line including hundreds of Achilles athletes and NYRR members. Achilles Ambassador, Meghan McCain participated in the race with several of her coworkers from The View including ABC Correspondent Debra Roberts and her son Nick Roker. Today Show weatherman, Al Roker flew a red eye to be there for his wife and son at the finish line and proudly put their finisher medals on them. Achilles athlete Riley Sullivan gave a powerful performance of Go the Distance on the Bandshell Stage drawing a huge crowd for our finish festival raffle.

TD Bank painted the park green and took the race to new heights! A hospitality tent serving complimentary coffee, fruit, face painting, and towel giveaways made for a lively festival. TD Mascot was a huge hit at the kids races, high-fiving the kiddos at the finish line!

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The Achilles Freedom Team had a strong presence during the 17th Annual Hope & Possibility® by TD Bank weekend. We hosted 21 wounded, ill and injured servicemen and women and their caregivers; 12 active duty and veterans who are currently receiving care at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda and nine Freedom Team alumni – including 92-year-old World War II Veteran and all-around rock star, Monty Montgomery! All were welcomed and generously hosted by the dedicated members and staff from the NYC’s historic Union League Club. It was an extra treat for the team to be escorted safely through the city streets by New York's finest with the NYPD's Highway 1 Unit throughout the weekend. Between a speedboat ride on the Hudson (everyone, ride The Beast this summer!), a profoundly moving visit to the 9/11 Museum, and tour of the sacred grounds at Memorial Park, the team enjoyed NYC hospitality all weekend long. Our heartfelt thanks to Achilles board member and Union League Club member, Sal Lifrieri, for rallying our ULC family and accommodating the Freedom Team so beautifully. Special thanks to our dear friends from ABC’s The View, who took on the racecourse with us and our Freedom Team sister, Meghan McCain. And of course, we are forever thankful for our loyal sponsors from the GM Military Discount, Yankee Bus, the staff from Walter Reed and our incredible volunteers, athletes and caregivers for making the Hope & Possibility weekend fun, memorable and inspiring!

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Achilles Connecticut hosted its 4th annual Hope & Possibility® 5K/10K/Walk/Kids Run presented by Cigna on Sunday, July 21st. More than 400 participants proved that the power of the human spirit was stronger than any heat wave! The Connecticut Chapter welcomed 12 guides from Cigna, including Cigna Connecticut President Wendy Sherry and Executives Brian Evanko and Jonathan Prokup. Joe and Ruth Sorbanelli from Achilles New Jersey, Jenny Hwang and John Pierre from Achilles Queens, Erin Williams and Rob Sanchas from Achilles Providence and Leo Manning and Jeremy Fucile from Boston all represented! Ellie Cox, Joe Traum, Josie Amico, and their daughter Isabella rounded out Team Achilles!

Jason Romero, motivational speaker and blind ultra-endurance athlete, was the Honored Guest of the Connecticut Hope & Possibility® weekend. He addressed a crowd of over 85 at a fundraiser the night before the race, spoke at the race start, and ran the 5K with fellow Achilles athletes and guides. The Connecticut chapter is grateful to Jason and the 25+ sponsors and donors who helped make the weekend events POSSIBLE. Visit their Facebook page to see a list of sponsors and photos from the amazing event.


Achilles Germany successfully hosted their 8th Hope & Possibility® Run on July 28th. The perfect weather, teams from Intel and Penny Parade, Achilles Kids, and chapter members all crossing the finish line made it an extraordinary day. Local politicians along with hundreds of runners joined the event for 2.5 km, 5 km and 10 km runs. The President and representatives of the Disabled Sports Federation from Bavaria, members of Bavarian Parliament and Ministry of Social Affairs expressed the importance of Achilles International and the annual Hope & Possibility event not just for the Achilles members with different abilities but for the whole local community. Congratulations to all! 

Many thanks to all the volunteers and guides who made the event possible. Also, a special thanks to Alexander Hentzshel, president of Achilles Germany for his work and dedication! #GoAchillesGermany!


The Achilles Freedom Team hosted 20 athletes in the San Diego Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon on Sunday, June 2nd. Big thanks to the wonderful staff at Balboa Naval Medical Center, DAV Industries and the DAV Charitable Service Trust, the Bank of America Military Affinity Group, Team ULTRA, the staff at IronMan, and our new friends at the legendary San Diego Zoo for making it such a fun and successful weekend. Freedom Team athlete, Jess Walton, took first place in the handcycle division and all finished strong. 


On June 12th at Gotham Comedy Club, we held our first Achilles Comedy Night! Regina DeCicco from The View emceed the event. Dick Traum had his stand-up debut wowing the audience with his epic jokes! Achilles Freedom Team athlete, Adam Keys also got a chance to show off his comedic chops! Roy Wood Jr. from The Daily Show with Trevor Noah was the headliner. JIM GAFFIGAN surprised us all by showing up unannounced giving us a hilarious set of his latest new material! Achilles athletes, volunteers and supporters were in the audience. Thank you to JR Havlan – Emmy Award winning writer from The Daily Show who helped produce this event. Thank you to our generous Achilles Board Members and Vice President Mary Bryant McCourt who sponsored tickets for several Achilles athletes giving them the gift of laughter!

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On July 21st, over 50 athletes, guides, and handlers from more than eight States around the U.S. gathered to race the NYC Triathlon. Due to extreme heat, the decision was made by NYC officials to cancel the event. Achilles collaborated with Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF) and others in the ParaTri Community to hold a special alternate event at Tailwind Endurance located on Manhattan’s Upper West Side. Tailwind, a triathlon and cycling training studio hosted a relay ride for the entire physically challenged community. That, along with a post-ride brunch hosted by Achilles board member Rebecca Lindenbaum, brought the team closer together and provided those who weren’t able to race with a unique and memorable experience.

That same weekend, TriAchilles sent two athlete and guide teams to Long Beach California to compete at the USA Paratriathlon National Championships. These two teams raced against the best on the course proposed for the 2028 LA Olympics.

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To Benefit Achilles International

We are proud to partner once again with Arch Global Advisors for the Fourth Annual Day of Golf to Benefit Achilles International on Monday, September 23rd, at Anglebrook Golf Club in Lincolndale NY. The festivities kick off at 9:30 a.m. for breakfast and registration followed by an 11 a.m. Shotgun Start! Sponsorships available here. The day concludes with cocktails and a 5 p.m. dinner and awards ceremony featuring remarks by Achilles athletes. Join us for a day of golf and fun to benefit the New York City Chapter of Achilles International.


Please join us for Achilles New Jersey’s inaugural Hope & Possibility® Race on September 22nd. Achilles NJ would love to have Achilles athletes and guides come join them for a run/walk. Those who cannot make it, can take part in the virtual run. You will receive a shirt and a medal in the mail. Everyone is welcome. Bring a friend. www.achillesnj.org


Congratulations to Jacky Lee who is Volunteer of the Month! Jackie joined Achilles as a guide in 2016 and has been a wonderful addition ever since. Aside from running and competing in ultra-trail events, Jackie is a Special Education Middle School Teacher and an artist. (Thank you so much, Jacky, for your love, support and everything you do for Achilles.)

To read more about Jacky, click HERE

To nominate someone for Volunteer of the Month, please contact FIONA


Congratulations to Lauren Lang & Adam Shelepak who together are the Achilles Kids Volunteers of the Month. Lauren and Adam joined Achilles Kids in January 2018 and right off the bat became a very special part of our community. Which makes it very bittersweet to have to wish them a fond farewell as they begin a new chapter in their lives in Washington, D.C. But we are so looking forward to having Lauren and Adam join us any time they are in NYC! (Thank you Adam & Lauren for your love, dedication and devotion!)

“Our experience with Achilles Kids has been inspiring and rewarding. The athletes, families, and other volunteers continually inspire us with the amazing community that Achilles has built. It's incredible watching our athletes achieve new goals whether it's an extra lap around the bridle path, a little bit farther in the gait trainer or another week of putting one foot in front of the other -- we always walk away each week in awe of this community.” - Lauren Lang & Adam Shelepak

To read more about Lauren & Adam, click HERE

To nominate someone for Volunteer of the Month, please contact Karen


September 22nd – Achilles New Jersey’s Inaugural Hope & Possibility® Event

September 23rd – Achilles Fourth Annual Arch Global Advisors Day of Golf

October 13th - 21st Annual Race For Rehab 5K, New York Medical College, Valhalla NY. Entry is free for all Achilles Athletes and Guides. 

Photo credits: many of our photos are courtesy of the great, talented, always helpful and very dedicated, Larry Sillen. Thank you, Larry!