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Achilles International

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Amateur Sports, Recreation & Sports, Sports

Mission: Achilles International’s mission is to enable people with all types of disabilities to participate in mainstream athletics, with a focus on distance running.  Achilles promotes personal achievement, enhanced self-esteem, improved health and fitness, and lowers barriers between disparate types of people.

Results: Achilles hosts an annual Hope & Possibility 5 Mile Race where 5,000 able bodied and disabled people participate together. 200 Achilles athletes with all kinds of disabilities compete each year in the ING NYC Marathon.  Achilles also participates in the Marathon Tour, which features 14 mainstream races throughout the country.

Target demographics: people with disabilities of all ages from all walks of life; combat injured veterans from OEF and OIF, as well as veterans from prior wars such as Vietnam and Korea; non combat injured veterans with disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 10,000

Geographic areas served: HQ in NYC chapters throughout the US and worldwide

Programs: The Achilles Freedom Team of Wounded Veterans helps service personnel injured in Iraq and Afghanistan or in earlier wars such as Vietnam to train, be active, compete and achieve. Achilles Kids is in 150 public and private schools; 2,000 children with disabilities run, walk or roll throughout the year with the goal of completing 26.2 miles. The Achilles Tri team develops multi-sport athletes.

Community Stories

53 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

Dear Friends
I am the founder of: NJBA4.COM. The No Jump Basketball Association.
1. Males and Females on same teams.
2. Founders League = over 40 yrs. old.
3. One male and one female, partially disabled, player.
4. One wheelchair player.
After 21 yrs of development, trying to launch, now. Pro-basketball. Thank you. D. Dahbu

Jodie Mathews B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband is a handcyclist for the Achilles Freedom Team and they have done so much for our family. He was stuck in a bad place for a long time since he is an disabled veteran but Achilles was able to get him into marathon racing on a handcycle and now he is professional athlete. He loves what he does and I love Achilles for saving his life. Thank you for everything you do!! Not only did you save his life and his mental status but you allow our family to come along and be supportive of him and other veterans that are just like him. The family aspect that Achilles has created for us is outstanding and they deserve any kind of help that a nonprofit can get. They don't care about the money, they care about our veterans and their families. Achilles is the BEST!!

Previous Stories

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization has totally changed the life of my husband who is a disabled veteran from the Air Force. My husband was placed in a wheelchair only 3 months after we were married and he thought the worst thing in the world was happening. He couldn't function and his mind was in a deep dark place.
Then we discovered Achilles. We were put in contact with the best woman in the world Janet Patton and through her hard work and labor and the generosity of the entire Achilles family, my husband has something to look forward to every year. He is now a member of the Achilles Freedom Racing Team and races in marathons a few times a year. Achilles helped him to get outdoors and be active in a handcycle even though he is in a wheelchair from injuries sustained from being in the war overseas. We LOVE Achilles and are so grateful that they help us to be able to get outdoors and be active despite injuries.
Achilles not only helps veterans, but anyone with disabilies! They are the most generous organization I have ever been apart of. I am so glad and thankful for everyone of them. They have such big hearts and always have a smiling face. Achilles is truly the BEST Nonprofit in this country!!

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm 34 year old runner with visual impairment. Achilles makes my dreams reality. I ran TCS New York City Marathon 2017 with group of Achilles volunteers. Big thanks to them, it was unforgetable experience for me!

Michio T.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Achilles International is great! They provided us with full support when we organized the 1st Hope & Possibility run in Tokyo, this May.

1 Ricard C.

Advisor

Rating: 5

I have been a member of Achilles International for about twenty years and now as President of Achilles Ecuador I am very grateful for everything Achilles International has done for all of us, they have helped us grow and continuously increase the number of runners with and without disability. They have not only taught us to experience the health benefits and joys of running, but they have also taught us to create a strong international community, whose members and volunteers help each other, motivate and encourage each other as well.
Thanks to the valuable support of Achilles International our Chapter of Achilles Ecuador has been recognized around the world.
Thank you so much Achilles International

1

Donor

Rating: 5

I helped and ran with the Mongolian Chapter of Achilles at this years NYC marathon and couldn't have been more impressed. The Chapters are made to feel part of a global family, and the support given to the athletes is awesome and humbling. There are countless cliches thrown around about helping to change people's lives but the work of Achilles was one of the few times in my life where I have witnessed it first hand. Amazing work team Achilles!!

1 Gabit B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Super proud by team Achilles International Mongolia chapter. Genuinely true people who have heart, spirit, love to care about other members all around the world. Thank you for your inspiration.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I'm partially sighted runner and I'm in touch with Achilles for more than year. They are really perfect organisation. They made my dreams reality and my life more colorful. In November I am taking part in New York City Marathon. I can't wait for that :)

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I participated in NYMarathon with achilles T-shirt, many people gave big smile and cheerd me up friendly.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was volunteering during Vienna Marathon 2017. The Achilles International is a wellness experienced organization, provides all the information and help for its volunteers and clients. I definitely would reccomend this experience for everyone.

1 Freddy Calle S.

Board Member

Rating: 5

El orgullo y motivación que significa pertenecer a la gran familia Achilles International, es invaluable. Es un espacio donde se une la familia, amigos y cualquier persona con deseos de superación. Achilles International Ecuador, es una familia en constante crecimiento.
Freddy Calle Suri
Coordinador

1 Steve K.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have participated in Achilles events as a volunteer, and I can attest to the professionalism of the organization and the profound positive effect it has on those living with a wide range of disabilities. This organization distinguishes itself by breaking down barriers and highlighting the abilities and potential of members, and integrates them into mainstream athletics. The therapeutic value physically, mentally and spiritually is immediately evident among the participants. Handicapped athletes are not treated as "special" or "different", but the same as all other athletes. For many, this is a unique and uplifting experience.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I ran the first ever marathon of my life in New York City thanks to Achilles International and Achilles Hungary. It was an unbelievable, amazing experience, to run in that special city, surrounded by crowds of cheering people and thousands of other runners. I'm grateful for this once in a lifetime experience.

Marcus F.1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Quando conseguimos viabilizar ao PNE a participação num evento de corrida de rua (ou caminhada), estamos, na verdade, levando-o a experimentação da alegria, da emoção, da satisfação, da superação, da confraternização, entre outras sensações inerentes a pratica da corrida de rua.
Este bem estar, acompanha o ACD após o evento, contagiando seus familiares, amigos e todos aqueles com quem convive.
Além dos benefícios sociológicos, esta pratica saudável, influencia positivamente na saúde física e mental do individuo.

Contudo, a pratica de corrida de rua tem um custo, que para o ACD é ainda maior devido a outras demandas, que frequentemente dificultam ou inviabilizam a pratica frequente.

Neste contexto, o ACHILLES, que já espalhou sua filosofia pelos 5 continentes, em mais de 72 países, vem atuando, sempre buscando formas de apoiar e incentivar o ACD.

Eu, como ACD, só tenho a agradecer e parabenizar o ACHILLES.

“Por vezes sentimos que aquilo que fazemos não é senão uma gota de água no mar. Mas o mar seria menor se lhe faltasse uma gota.”
Madre Teresa de Calcutá

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Achilles is an organization that through sports practice gives people the possibility of improving their quality of life. The performance of group sports fosters friendship, love and respect. In my case, it has allowed me to create a group of friends who not only meet for physical activity but to share experiences and help us.
Thank you Achilles for existing.

Client Served

Rating: 5

This organization has helped my family with more than just handcycling. They helped my husband realize that his life was not over. He could still do the things he loved but in a different way. Because of their support my husband has gotten to be one of the best handcyclists in the USA. He could not have done what he's done without Achilles and the amazing family we have there

Mario M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Achiiles International helps Brazilian disabled athletes participate in the New York Marathon and keep athletes' dreams alive! In Brazil, we represent Achilles with actions to motivate new people to join the sport! We do actions in sports centers and schools!

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

My husband was injured in December of 2012. He went from being a Hospital Administrator For the Coast Guard with a very active life to the confines of a wheelchair as a paraplegic. My husband was an athlete before his injury and now found himself retired from a career he loved and unable to do the sports and hobbies he once enjoyed. Or so he thought. About a year into his injury the VA introduced him to the Achilles Organization. This organization has changed OUR life. He was given many opportunities to try snow skiing, wheelchair basketball, archery, and sailing. None of those fit him. From the moment he starting hand cycling and racing in marathons his overall health and well being sky rocketed. His former athleticism came back with a force and he came alive. This was all due to his hard work, determination and Achilles. They have afforded him and our family opportunities and memories that are irreplaceable. We have both met athletes that have been an inspiration to us and that have motivated our family on a fundamental level. Janet Patton and Jo Traum are a dynamic duo that makes every experience seem flawless, while eliminating barriers for the athletes. They make an amazing team ALWAYS sporting upbeat smiles and unbeatable positive attitudes. One of the other ways Achilles has changed our life is witnessing selflessness, kindness, and compassion on a level we would have not seen otherwise. The volunteer community had amazed us! We now volunteer in our own community and give back any way we can. Our family has become aware of ways we can help others in our community the way Achilles helps us. We may have only stayed aware of our immediate family instead of our human family as a whole. Volenteering has become a huge part of our life. Achilles has been instrumental in my husband’s strides in becoming a better athlete and competitor with each race he is a part of. We are so very proud to be part of the Achilles family and so grateful for all the amazing opportunities Achilles provides for men, women, and children with disabilities. We have met lifelong friends and every Achilles event fills our hearts. My Children thank Achilles! My husband and I thank Achilles!!!!!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I am David from Hungary and I run my 2nd marathon in NY at 2015 thanks for the Achilles and the Achilles Hungary. I am visually imparied, so I need help for the running.
It was a huge experience and I would like to say a big thank you for this oportunality for all the organisors and donors also. It was really nice to see how many people were together to help us.

4 Tumurkhuu D.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Achilles touched, saved and continues to improve so many lives. Restoring the most important thing people lose when becoming disabled - hope. Achilles is empowering people with disabilities through sports, across the globe.

Thank you for the great work! Go Achilles!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been participating with Achilles International Japan for about three years as a guide runner. I walk, run, and chat with many people every other Sundays. I receive a lot of energy from our members. I very often talk about our activity and how great it is to my family, so my children and husband also started to get interested in volunteering, and actually my husband started an activity helping children in poverty.

To be a good guide runner, I now excercise every morning. It's good for my health, too!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

The staff is very supportive and goes the extra mile to help. Events are well managed and organized . Highlight of my year is attending an Achilles event .

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My first year with Achilles Kids was a huge success, but it was a struggle to get there first. As was the case in years past, the students resisted the change from the regular routine and did not want to run and participate in the program. However, I started to run with them and told them about the different prizes from Achilles Kids that they would receive if they reached their goals. First, the certificates came in the mail and for many of these students, this would be the first award they had ever received! Soon, there was no more complaining and it was replaced with a motivation that I was so excited to see. They started striving to go a little further every time they came into the gym. Not only did they start to get moving, but they motivated me to start to run again and I started to go after my personal goal of running a marathon.

There was a third-grade boy name James and every day, he would come to the gym and do his walking for Achilles Kids. James was a heavy-weight boy who is slightly autistic and he rarely spoke to anyone. However, through his one-on-one paraprofessional, he told her that he wanted to run instead of walk around the gym to make his goal of one mile without stopping. Every week, he would walk less and run more. On the second week, he came up to me and said, “Watch me, Mr. Dyer!” His running said it all, he did not stop after a mile but kept going about two miles. The smile on his face when he finished made it all worth it. At the end of year one, thirty-four of the thirty-six students had reached their goal of getting a free pair running sneakers. And, by the way, yes, I did run my marathon in May!


The second year with Achilles Kids was a very special one for me. First, I enrolled all my 12:1 classes in the program and immediately, I had the classes off and running from day one. The kids were ready and eager to start running and many reached their goals. I started promoting the Achilles Kids program to other schools in Brooklyn through my PE Professional Learning Committee. I had Karen Lewis (Director of Achilles Kids) visit so she could speak to the other physical education teachers. She did a question and answer session and we signed them up for the program for the upcoming school year. We signed up twenty new schools for the program.

For my school, my students kept on running and I did the same. However, I had to take a step back due to an injury but my students kept encouraging me, “Mr. Dyer, you can always walk, remember no excuses!” Well, I did not stop and I did my walking while they ran. During my injury, I always just kept remembering James’ courage to run and meet his goals. If he can run two miles without stopping I can keep moving during my injury! Last school year, I was awarded a plaque from Karen for my hard work and dedication to Achilles Kids.

Currently, this is my third year with Achilles Kids and my students are off and running again. Yes, my students have me running alongside them again pushing me every step of the way. It is a great feeling to see my students so excited about running and wanting to come to gym week after week. Richard Petracca and I are teaming with school in Virginia to start something big and looking forward to this new challenge for my students and myself.

Achilles Kids is the best thing that is ever happened to my school for students. It gave the huge boost in their self-confidence and believe anything is possible if they just try. My students' parents have come up to me and thanked about how much this program has changed their child's life.

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

I have been riding and racing with Achilles International for 5 years now and they are an amazing organization. Joe and Janet are the backbone of this group and they do such an amazing job at every event I attend with them. They go above and beyond for everyone they work with. When you are with Achilles, you are more than just a name, you are family. Every marathon I’ve attended with Achilles, there is a great group of athletes, staff, and volunteers that make each weekend memorable for everyone. However, it also leaves you sad that you have to leave all your great family and friends when it’s over.
I have seen wounded veterans come to a marathon with Achilles and when the weekend started, you couldn’t get them to say 2 words to anyone. And then by the time they’ve finished their first marathon, they are beaming with joy and a sense of accomplishment. Then, they come out of their shell. By the time they’ve done their second or third marathon, they are welcoming the new members and helping them out! I know because this is exactly how I was during my first race with Achilles.
Achilles does such an amazing job helping people with all sorts of disablilties accomplish their goals no matter what they are. Everyone matters to Achilles. They are such a great benefit to the entire disable community. I have seen them change lives.

1 Dinah Fiumano M.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I teach children with various disabilities. The one thing they all have in common is that they all love to move. Movement is their outlet. As a teacher you are always looking for a program that will suit the needs of your students. About 22 years ago I attended a running workshop designed for children with special needs. Karen Lewis was giving the workshop and she completely blew me away with her enthusiasm and passion for the Achilles Kids Program. I signed up that day! The program has grown over the years, improving every step of the way. They are always trying to find ways to help and motivate the children; from t-shirts, maps, bracelets, certificates, medals and of course the sneakers!!

The Achilles Program is about the students ... ABILITIES... not their Disabilities. All my students will finish a 26 mile marathon during the school year and some will come close to finishing 2 marathons! My students are very aware of their goal ... 26 miles ... and maybe a pair of new sneakers!

I never truly understood the impact of the new sneakers until one of my students named "David" informed me that this was the first pair of new sneakers that he had ever received. He always had to wear his older brothers worn down and used sneakers. Then I became more aware of the sneakers that my students wore; many of their shoes had holes, were too small, or the soles were completely worn away. For those children, the sneakers have an even greater meaning to them. The sneakers represent triumph and something that is truly their own.

It’s through the generosity of others that my students are able to be so successful. The sneakers impact their everyday lives, they wear them every day at school and they are a constant reminder that they are able to do whatever they put their minds to. Because of the Achilles Kids Program my students have been able to accomplish more than they have ever dreamed of.

1 Earl G.

Client Served

Rating: 5

I never thought I'd run a marathon, even when I had all my limbs. When I was introduced to the Achilles Freedom Team, I saw other service members who are in similar situations like myself but stepping out of their comfort zone and smashing physical goals. The Freedom Team has given our disabled veterans a chance to still be athletes and realize to the rest of society that there's no being sorry for us, just be inspired.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Connecting passion and purpose - helping athletes of all abilities lower barriers and participate in mainstream athletics.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

For two years now Achilles International has been helping tinny Achilles Hungary to grow bigger and stronger, and continuously increase the number of our runners with and without disabilities. Achilles Hungary is a rather international chapter, supporting runners from neighbouring countries and other European countries which do not have their Achilles chapter yet. Doing so, we not only experience the joy and health benefits of running, but also build a strong international community members of which help, motivate and cheer for one another, without barriers, without borders!

1

Client Served

Rating: 5

Achilles International has positively changed my outlook on life. After suffering from a permanent spinal cord injury in 2012, I lost my physical ability to participate and/or compete in organized sports. Achilles not only provided me with an opportunity to hand cycle, but they've eliminated the barriers that a person with disabilities would have to endure (travel expenses, lodging costs, start & finish line transportation, equipment maintenance, etc...) in order to participate in large, organized events throughout the nation. Most notably, in my experience, is their willingness to boost the morale of wounded veterans and their families by creating opportunities for them to integrate back into community events. They have became family to many of whom they serve.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I was an avid runner for over a decade. When my mom had passed, I was determined to volunteer in her honor to help others as she always gave so much of herself. One day while running in Central Park, I noticed a large group in bright yellow shirts that was having a great time. This group was from Achilles International. Achilles International is dedicated to assisting mentally and physically disabled athletes with physical fitness and attain self fufillment by pairing disabled runners with able bodied guides.

The more I researched this group, the more I knew I wanted to get involved. So I emailed the NYC Chapter Director and was invited to participate in their Central Park workouts which are held twice weekly. I was nervous at first about fitting in and how I would be greeted but it was like making an instant connection the second I arrived. I was paired with a Visually Impaired runner and we proceeded to run a 6 mile lap of Central Park.

This one workout eventually led to my participation in hundreds of more workouts over the years with them as well as guiding dozens of races. I've guided and made life long friends with people with disabilities ranging from Blindness, Cerebral Palsy, Amputees, Autism, etc. After more than a decade of running and chasing after goal times, I've never felt more fufilled and complete in my running life as now when I am helping others achieve their running and fitness goals. I've guided a young blind woman who was new to New York and never even ran a day in her life. A few months later, I guided her in her first ever race at the NYC Half Marathon. I also guided a middle aged runner who for her first 49 years on this earth was the epitome of health. Then last year, she wound up having detached retinas in both of her eyes. Instead of feeling sorry for herself, she instead reinvented herself and with the help of Achilles, was back up and running. This past November, I had the pleasure of guiding her in her ultimate comeback, the NYC Marathon.

What I've learned that in giving is when we receive because the joy and satisfaction in knowing that you have made a positive difference in someone else's life as well as your community is very gratifying. To witness disabled people achieve goals they never thought possible is heart warming. To have them thank you and know that I played at least a small part in their happiness and achievements is quite humbling. The joy I get from running is now not because of reaching a time goal but from the infectious smiles and camaraderie of those who have a new found identity through running. I see this as a race of giving with a start but no finish line and for that I will always be grateful.

Review from #MyGivingStory

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This nonprofit is the most incredible organization that positively changes the lives of volunteers and disabled athletes alike. This is the most incredible nonprofit organization with which I have ever been involved.

1 Cindy220

Client Served

Rating: 5

My daughter belongs to the Pikes Peek chapter. She has Cerebral Palsy and Cortical Vision Impairment. Her disabilities require her to have a guide runner. Achilles allows her to participate in an activity that she loves, running. My daughter has waited what seems like a lifetime to find a group that she belongs in. Winning races with a PC category has been an added bonus:) In the short time she's been attending Achilles, the group has become part of our family.

2

Client Served

Rating: 5

I was introduced to Achilles in Houston Texas, a few years ago and I found a home.
The support and acceptance of all levels of disabilities is amazing. Achilles allows us to expand our abilities in sports and to discover that this applies to everyday life.
Anyone with any level of disability is welcomed...all is needed is a desire and willingness to try.
Achilles gives people a safe place to try and excel at something new.
I can't recommend these guys enough.

2 Greg75

Client Served

Rating: 5

I found Achilles International in 2010, and was added to the Achilles Freedom Team as an adaptive wounded veteran handcyclist. My first race was the Marine Corps Marathon. I was blown away by the atmosphere and love that was poured out of the Achilles staff members for each individual. They made the experience memorable with their family-style approach to event planning. On November 6, 2016, I will participate in the New York Marathon, making it my eighth marathon with Achilles. In addition to marathons, I execute fundraising campaigns to give back for all they've done for my family and I over the past six years. Achilles is family. Achilles is a movement that breaks down barriers and removes the 'dis' from disability.

1 Kathleen123

Client Served

Rating: 5

I cried the day I filled out my application to join. I was 50 years old and all of a sudden my vision made running unsafe. I was so nervous the first day I went but EVERYONE welcomed me and helped make me comfortable.
I went from not wanting to get out of bed in the mornings back to living! The other athletes have been helpful and supportive and taught me about accepting life with a disability. The volunteers - there is just no way to explain how their selflessness impacts me.