UPDATE: Challenge Alaska won a Toyota Highlander in the 100 Cars for Good contest. For details, click here.
ALASKA - Challenge Alaska is asking for the public’s help to win a new truck. Each day Toyota picks five charities from around the country to compete in a Facebook contest. Challenge Alaska will have its chance on Friday, June 15.
Staff say the organization is all about giving disability a possibility. Thanks to specialized equipment, Ally Beischer hasn’t let cerebral palsy slow her down.
“I enjoy doing these types of sports and it's something I wouldn't be able to do on my own. I need this equipment in order to play soccer, and it gives me that same rush as if I were an able-bodied soccer player,” said Beischer.
She’s just one of about a thousand people who depend on Challenge Alaska to help them play sports.
Adam Jen is another. He became paralyzed from the waist down three years ago when the ATV he was driving went over a cliff. He’s been with the organization ever since.
“It's brightened my life up and it's something I look forward to. And it's something that I just love doing,” said Jen.
He participates in wheelchair soccer and hasn’t let his disability stop him from being active. “You just have to follow your heart and realize there's more to life than being able to walk.”
It takes a lot of effort to get people out and active. The gear includes 17 sport wheelchairs for basketball and soccer as well as kayaks, bicycles and archery bows and targets. All of it gets hauled around in a trailer hitched to a handicap-accessible van.
“There's a wheelchair lift in the back so every time we have to transport someone, we have to unhook the trailer, load the person, help them get secured in their chair then re-hook the trailer, so it's considerable time,” said Jeff Dick, the therapeutic recreation coordinator.
Staff hope to win a new Toyota truck because they say the more gear they can transport, the more people they can help.
“If it's a right for some people, it should be a right for everyone else. We have a beautiful state and we want people to enjoy it and get out and recreate,” said Beth Edmands, the Challenge Alaska CEO.