USRowing has launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $15,000 (£10,000/€14,000) in 60 days for Freedom Rows, a programme designed to change the lives of disabled veterans and members of the armed services through rowing.
Freedom Rows began in November 2014 with a grant from the Veterans Administration (VA) and has been met with tremendous success to date, it has been claimed.
Since its inception, USRowing has partnered seven VA hospitals with seven rowing clubs, allowing more than 200 disabled veterans to take-up the sport.
“Any type of sport you can adapt for a wounded veteran is a life-changing experience,” said Helman Roman, a Freedom Rows rower and Paralympic hopeful.
“Adaptive sports gives you a new meaning, new purpose, new beginning, so that’s a big, big tool for re-integration to civilian life and just going out in the world.”
So far, $2,300 (£1,500/€2,100) has been raised.
“Freedom Rows is one of the most exciting programmes USRowing has launched, and we are grateful for the Veterans Administration support,” said Beth Kohl, USRowing’s chief marketing officer.
“As we’ve begun to share this programme around the country, many people have asked how they can help.
"Our new partnership with RallyMe will provide the rowing community with an opportunity to join our journey as we help to change the lives of many of our veterans.
Funds raised from the Freedom Rows campaign will provide additional opportunities to a wider audience of injured veterans and members of the armed services by offering additional race opportunities, expanding start programmes in more cities and with VA hospitals, and expanding outreach at more events like the Valor Games.
In the short term, resources will be made available to help fund Freedom Rows athletes to travel to the 2015 USRowing Masters National Championships and the 2015 BAYADA Regatta, America's oldest and largest all-adaptive rowing competition for athletes with physical disabilities.
“We are thrilled to partner with USRowing and we can’t think of a better way to kick off the new platform than with the Freedom Rows campaign," said said Bill Kerig, chief executive of RallyMe.
"Rowing is a physically demanding and mentally challenging sport, so we think it’s a perfect fit for our veterans.
"It is our goal to help raise $15,000 in 60 days, and we are confident that the USRowing community is more than capable of raising this money for such a worthy cause.”
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