A group of eight elite amateur and former professional athletes will ride their bicycles over 3,000 miles, coast-to-coast, in the 32nd Annual Race Across America in order to raise $250,000 for the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, which is building a set of nine medical diagnostic and treatment centers to help wounded military heroes returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS).
Team Intrepid Fallen Heroes is led by Winston Fisher, Partner with the Fisher Brothers real estate firm in New York, and Evan “Chip” Marks, Co-Founder of Sungate Asset Management LLC, a family office in New York specializing in real estate investment. The team’s manager is Jimmy Riccitello, who also will be riding for the team, is the Technical Director for Ironman and a two-time XTERRA World Champion. Other members of the team include Brian Collins, Head of Development for Fisher Brothers; Hal Goldstein, Founder of NY based architecture firm Janson Goldstein; Scott Cohen, Acquisitions and Development at Fisher Brothers; Stefan Kusurelis, Senior Project Architect for Janson Goldstein; and Dr. Robert DeStefano, one of NY’s leading sports chiropractors and ART practitioners.
The Race Across America begins on June 14th in Oceanside, CA. It is considered to be the world’s harshest endurance athletic event. The route touches 12 states, 88 counties and climbs over 170,000 vertical feet. Riders continuously propel themselves 24/7, coast-to-coast, over the Rockies and Appalachians, and through rain, wind, desert heat and possibly snow at elevations over 10,000 feet. The first team across the finish line in Annapolis, MD is considered the winner, although every team that finishes will claim its own bragging rights.
To date, the teams competing in Race Across America have raised over $4,000,000 for charities of their choosing. The Intrepid Fallen Heroes team will be racing this year to raise money to build nine medical diagnostic and treatment centers to help wounded military heroes suffering from Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Post Traumatic Stress (PTS). “We are just beginning to understand the trauma inflicted on the human brain by concussions caused by combat, and these centers are already doing incredible good for our military men and women,” said Winston Fisher. “We are racing for them – our service members who have already made incredible sacrifices for us and our freedom. Riding 3,000 miles on a bicycle will be nothing compared to what they have endured for us.”
The Intrepid Spirit NICoE Satellite Centers are being funded and built by the Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund, through a $100 million fundraising campaign supported by the American public, private businesses, veterans groups and community organizations. Earlier this year, IFHF announced that it received a $500,000 donation from the Military Order of the Purple Heart Service Foundation to jumpstart the construction of the Ft. Bragg Center. As part of the donation, the Foundation pledged all funds raised through their text-to-donate line during January will be added to their original donation. Americans interested in helping to build the center are invited to support the effort by texting “Purple” to 20222 to give $10 directly to the Fort Bragg NICoE Satellite Center and the donation will be reflected on the next month’s cell phone bill.
Though the centers are being built exclusively through private donations, each center is gifted to the Department of Defense for operation and management upon completion. All the centers will be located at military installations and bases near medical facilities around the country. These convenient locations allow service members to receive TBI and PTS medical services without having to separate them from their units or leave their families for extended periods of treatment. This proximity to family and friends is expected to enhance service members’ care and rehabilitation.
The first two Intrepid Spirit Centers were opened last year at Ft. Belvoir, Virginia and Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Together they have already treated hundreds of service members, since opening their doors in July and August. A third center is currently under construction Ft. Campbell, Kentucky and is expected to be operational later this year.
Each of the NICoE Satellite Centers is 25,000 sq. ft., and cost approximately $11 million to construct and equip with the latest in brain technology and devices. The Intrepid Spirit Center at Fort Bragg is scheduled to be completed and gifted to the Department of Defense in approximately one year.
The design and mission of the Intrepid Spirit Centers are based on the original NICoE, opened in 2010 at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md. Operated by the Department of Defense, NICoE is the most advanced facility of its kind in the country, and is the center of the Armed Forces’ efforts in researching, diagnosing and treating TBI, PTS and related injuries and illnesses sustained by military personnel. Hundreds of American service members have received some form of diagnosis or treatment from NICoE in the past three years.
Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) occurs when a sudden trauma or head injury disrupts the function of the brain. Common causes of TBI include damage caused by explosive devices, falls and vehicle or motorcycle accidents. Most reported TBI among Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom service members and veterans have been traced back to Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs, used extensively against Coalition Forces. Symptoms can appear immediately or in the weeks and months following the injury.
Posted on June 14 2014 in News