Spearheaded by Philadelphia Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie, the Eagles Autism Challenge presented by Lincoln Financial Group is the team’s one-day cycling and 5K run/walk signature event that aims to support innovative autism research and programs in Philadelphia.
One hundred percent of participant-raised funds will be directed to the groundbreaking work being conducted at three nationally recognized institutions: Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health. By bringing together the region’s top autism research organizations, the Eagles Autism Challenge aims to drive scientific breakthroughs and establish Philadelphia as a major center for autism research and care.
Festivities for the second annual Eagles Autism Challenge will begin on Friday, May 17 at 5 p.m. with a kick-off party for participants and families in Lincoln Financial Field’s West Club.
The official fundraising event, which will host 3,000 cyclists, runners and walkers, will commence at 7 a.m. on Saturday, May 18 at Lincoln Financial Field.
The Eagles Autism Challenge features three cycling routes (Wawa Junior 15-Mile Ride, Wawa Shorti 30-Mile Ride, Wawa Classic 50-Mile Ride), the Five Below 5K Run/Walk and Five Below Sensory Walk. Every route will end at Lincoln Financial Field with participants crossing the finish line at the 50-yard line where an on-field celebration awaits. The awards ceremony, field activities and family-friendly entertainment will take place in the afternoon.
The Eagles Autism Challenge will be fully supported by the entire Eagles organization – players, coaches, team legends, ownership, leadership executives, support staff, EaglesCheerleaders and mascot SWOOP – and will take place rain or shine. There are more than 30 Eagles players signed up as bikers and 11 signed up as 5K runners/walkers. The rest will be cheering participants on at the finish line. Additionally, every Eagles coach and nearly 30 team legends will be participating as either a biker, runner or walker.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 59 people under the age of 21 living in the United States are on the autism spectrum, a significant increase from two years ago when the ratio stood at one in 68. Autism has become one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the country, yet it has historically been underfunded, misunderstood and under-researched. The Eagles Autism Challenge is partnering with thought leaders to advance scientific discoveries all with the goal of having a transformational impact around the world.
For more information on the Eagles Autism Challenge, please visit www.eaglesautismchallenge.org.