By: Staff Reports | Gwinnett Citizen

Changing lives in a speedo
7th Annual Atlanta Santa Speedo Run Names Adaptive Sports Organization BlazeSports America the 2015 Beneficiary

Atlanta – BlazeSports America has been quietly providing adaptive sports opportunities to children with physical disabilities in the Atlanta area and beyond for nearly 20 years.

So when the organization learned that it would be this year’s beneficiary for the Atlanta Santa Speedo Run, everyone thought it could be time to get a little louder. 

“We are thrilled to partner with the popular Speedo Run for this year’s event,” said BlazeSports Executive Director Cynthia Frisina. “We’ve seen how adaptive sports literally change the lives of many who might not have imagined themselves as athletes, but truly possess the Olympic spirit. We’re so grateful that the support of the Run will help us continue in our mission.” 

Running in a speedo is its own reward, but this year, dashing a mile through the cold means a chance for young athletes of all abilities to participate in adaptive sports like soccer, swimming, wheelchair basketball, bowling and of course, track and field. And while it may be fun, involvement in sport is the vehicle to improved health and quality of life, increased self-esteem, greater independence and ultimately a more inclusive society. 

“We found BlazeSports America to be an ideal fit for what we hope to accomplish with the Atlanta Santa Speedo Run each year,” said Jeremy Ploessel, Atlanta Santa Speedo Run event chair. “The idea of running so that others may run felt like kismet, and we were all very impressed with the organization’s track record of hosting a variety of successful events of its own.”

In fact, many of BlazeSports America’s athletes are nationally ranked, and some are expected to head to the Paralympic Games next summer. The track team will compete in the National Jr. Disability Track & Field Championship this summer, and the children’s wheelchair basketball team took first place in the NWBA National Championships for the fourth time this year. 

Earning the title of Atlanta Santa Speedo Run Beneficiary will allow the organization to reach more children with disabilities who are ready to have their lives and confidence level improve through sports participation on any level. 

The Atlanta Santa Speedo Run takes place on December 12, 2015. Since its inception, the event has raised more than $475,000 for various charities.  Past recipients have included: Bert’s Big Adventure, Camp Twin Lakes, CHRIS Kids, Kate’s Club, CURE Childhood Cancer and Everybody Wins! Atlanta.  The Atlanta Santa Speedo Run is the second largest event of its type in the country.

About Atlanta Santa Run, Inc.:
Atlanta Santa Speedo Run, Inc.’s mission is to raise funds to support local charitable service organizations while providing a fun, non-competitive athletic event that brings people together to celebrate their community. For more information about the Atlanta Santa Speedo Run, including how to become a participant or a sponsor, visit AtlantaSantaSpeedoRun.org.

About BlazeSports America 
Based in Atlanta and celebrating 20 years in 2016, BlazeSports America’s mission is to change the lives of children and adults with physical disabilities through sport. In addition to its US efforts, BlazeSports America has served individuals and communities in 11 countries and partners with organizations around the world to provide a broad assortment of programs.  The interdisciplinary approach includes sport and community programs, leadership programs, competitions, camps and clinics, professional continuing education and certification and sports diplomacy and social impact. BlazeSports America serves children and adults with adaptive sport programs as well as military veterans with physical disabilities. 

BlazeSports America is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that is the legacy organization of the 1996 Paralympic Games held in Atlanta, Ga., offering programs and services that encourage lifelong health, build leadership skills, foster independence and inclusion, and promote an inclusive society. BlazeSports America is a member of United States Olympic Committee - Multi-Sport Organization and the USA Member Organization of Cerebral Palsy International Sport and Recreation Association. www.blazesports.org