Achilles Heel
April 2015


Spring is here! I recently had two great workouts in perfect weather - not too hot and not too cold. The only complaint was, too many people doing the same thing!

April has been an extraordinary month for Achilles. We had a Pittsburgh Hope & Possibility® event with almost twice the number from last year. Thirty-one Achilles members competed in a rainy Boston Marathon the weekend of April 18th. On April 26th, the New York Chapter competed in the Columbia University Road Runners (CURR) 5K charity run.



Internationally, we had Hope & Possibility® events in Lima, Peru. In conjunction with the State Department, Achilles FREEDOM TEAM members traveled to Colombia and competed in an 11K race with wounded Colombian soldiers. Achilles had a team in the Krakow Marathon with some of our Egyptian Chapter members participating. David Greenstein and Neil Mellen represented the Achilles NY Chapter. The Mongolian Chapter continues to expand after their U.S. race tour.

During the years, I have frequently joked that it is easier to set up a chapter in Burma than Brooklyn! Thanks to the help and guidance of Nicoletta Nerangis, we changed all that. Our Brooklyn Chapter started on April 16th with fanfare and several new members.

This month, we will purchase 12,700 t-shirts and 5,800 shoes for Achilles Kids.

What's happening is, we are continuing to expand rapidly, locally, nationally and internationally. It is a very exciting time. As we continue to grow, we also continue to raise funds. In fact, some very exciting news is that Chevy donated a Limited Edition Camaro Copo Race Car to the Achilles FREEDOM TEAM and it was auctioned on April 18th. Many thanks to Chevrolet Performance! 



From now until Hope & Possibility® on June 28th, we are offering a copy of Achilles "Hope & Possibility" book for every $100 donation and more. The event was inspired by the very courageous Trisha Meili and her memoir: "I Am The Central Park Jogger: A Story of Hope and Possibility."


April 2015



On Saturday, April 11th, over 300 runners and wheelers (handcycles and pushrims) gathered for the second annual Achilles Pittsburgh Hope & Possibility® Event presented by Cigna. This community run featured a 5K and a 10K welcoming athletes of all abilities. Achilles Pittsburgh put together this celebratory race and Cigna welcomed their customers from all walks of life, featuring their "Customer Referral Program." Achilles is excited to spread the Hope & Possibility® brand to many cities this year with the help of founding board chair and inspiration for the race, Trisha Meili.  




In early April Achilles International was commissioned and sponsored by
International Narcotics Law Enforcement (INL), the United States Embassy of Bogota and Achilles International Colombia Chapter
to deliver much needed prosthetic limbs, medical supplies and handcycles in a special ongoing project to help rehabilitate a desperately underserved Colombian population that is affected by the use of landmines in Colombia.


Achilles is a key partner of good will between the U.S. and Colombian Governments in helping traumatically-impacted landmine victims regain independence and reintegrate back into their communities. Affected populations include Colombian civilians, children, Colombian National Police and the Colombian Army. This partnership has been made possible by Achilles Colombia Chapter president, Pierry Duvan Ramirez who is also program assistant to David Walter, Eradication Program Chief of International Narcotics Law Enforcement.


During the visit our Achilles International FREEDOM TEAM ambassadors participated in a busy itinerary, which included a special reception at the US Embassy where we were welcomed by U.S. Ambassador, Kevin Whitaker. At the presentation, Ambassador Whitaker highlighted the importance of our trip and how the United States is not only helping landmine victims, but is working hard in advocacy efforts to help Colombia become more disability accessible. It was an incredible event.



The 2015 Boston Marathon hosted the largest field of Achilles athletes --thirty-one. Most were FREEDOM TEAM (FT) athletes welcoming Patrick Downes (Boston bomb survivor and amputee) as one of their own. 


Our heartfelt thanks go out to Chevrolet which sponsors the FREEDOM TEAM in marathons throughout the year, CIGNA which sponsored our chapter athletes' accommodations and Saturday evening meal (Cigna CEO David Cordani epitomized "Cigna Together All The Way" as he guided FREEDOM TEAM athlete Cedric King to a Boston victory!), Veteran's Airlift Command -- the owners and pilots -- who fly team members in and back, U-Haul, and the First Responders of the City of Boston and the State of Massachusetts who were present throughout the weekend to roll out the red carpet. We also thank the Dave Powers Foundation, which provides us with a delicious pre-race dinner and The Constitution Inn where the hospitality staff embraces Achilles like no other. Also a big thank you to Evan Deluty, Chef and Owner of Boston's chic Italian restaurant, Stella. Each year he opens his doors to our team for a delicious meal and post-race celebration. And we deeply appreciate the generosity of Yankee Bus Company, which enables us to travel Boston as a team in accessible comfort and style! 


Though the marathon was the main event of the weekend, a memorable highlight was when the kind folks from the legendary Fenway Park arranged for the FREEDOM TEAM to be honored on the field during the fourth inning of the Red Sox game the day before the race. Never was there a more honorable ovation than that for our athletes who have served and sacrificed so much! What a beautiful moment! 


Thanks to the efforts of FREEDOM TEAM member Greg Sapp, FT athletes were given extraordinary goody bags containing items such as

AfterShokz headphones, portable speakers, binoculars and digital cameras! It felt like it was everyone's birthday! Achilles International Boston members made very special goody bags for the chapter athletes as well and, of course, everyone's biggest take-home item was their shiny Boston Marathon Finishers Medal!!!


Kudos to FT's Tom Davis on taking first place in the Handcycle Division and congratulations to FT's Don Balcom who took first place in the Visually Impaired category. Finally, to all the amazing athletes, their family members and friends who inspire us. We cannot wait for next time!




On April 10th - 12th, the Achilles Kayak Team participated in the 12th annual "Shark Bite Challenge and Paddlefest" in Florida. Dennis Moran, Nihal Erkan from the Achilles Kayak Program NE chapter raced with Jennifer French and Mike Dumas from the recently launched Achilles OceanSports team in Dunedin Florida, led by race director Karen Mirlenbrink. The teams raced either four or eight miles and everyone completed their events competitively. This was the first race for our new Florida chapter and the first race of the season, so we were very happy to be there and support them! 




Jeremy Fucile is our Volunteer of the Month. He began with Achilles in 2008. When we talk about Jeremy, we think about Maureen Dunn, an equally wonderful friend of Achilles and the person who introduced Jeremy to Achilles. Maureen passed away in 2013 leaving behind an impressive legacy not just for our Achilles FREEDOM TEAM but for soldiers everywhere. She is responsible for starting the POW/MIA movement. Maureen was also instrumental in the Achilles FREEDOM TEAM's presence in the Boston Marathon on Patriots' Day. 


"Being witness to the life-changing effect Achilles has on those in recovery from injury and watching all these athletes meet personal goals and smash records both personal and official makes me so proud to know you all. Knowing there are people like you in the world makes it easy for me in facing everyday challenges." - Jeremy


To read more about Jeremy and Maureen please click here.


To nominate someone as Volunteer of the Month, please email Fiona.

Upcoming Events in May


May 1st - 3rd: Achilles Third Annual ParaTriathlon Clinic at Crystal Springs Resort. (Big thanks again to Joe and Denise Bellantoni for allowing the team to spend the weekend at the resort. And thanks to Brian Hammond and Travis Hawkins for donating their coaching services to the team!) 


May 2nd: Achilles International's Washington DC chapter will exhibit at the Amputee Coalition's Limb Loss Education Day on Saturday May 2nd at the Lerner Health & Wellness Center at George Washington University Campus from 9 am - 4 pm to promote the resurrection of the DC chapter. Free to attend.


May 3rd: Philly Achilles jumps into the annual Broad Street Run right on the heels of an amazing event at the Nashville Country Music Half and Full Marathon.


May 3rd: Achilles Pittsburgh is coming off its successful Hope & Possibility® last month and looking forward to the Pittsburgh Marathon.


May 9th - Achilles Nashville's Hope & Possibility®. Plus Achilles Kids Parents Day Fun Run at the JCC, NY.


May 10th - In New Jersey, the Bergen JCC chapter will participate in the Rubin Run held every Mother's Day. Choose from 5K, 10K or half-marathon distance.


May 13th - Achilles Westchester relaunches at 6 pm. Meet every Wednesday at the Kensico Dam, 1 Bronx River Parkway, Valhalla NY 10595 and get in on the fun. For more information email Valerie Rosen at or phone her at 914-646-3385.



DON'T FORGET our Guaranteed Charity Entrant program for 2015. We have slots available for:


NYC Triathlon

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

TCS NYC Marathon


We have limited slots available for each of these programs. For more details, please email SarahTel 973 615 7375.




Mark your calendar if you are applying to guide an Achilles athlete in the NYC Marathon on November 1, 2015. The specific NYC Marathon Guide Application will go up on our website under the volunteer section beginning July 15th through August 14th. 

Achilles Chapter Leaders: If you have members participating in the marathon who plan on running with guides from your chapter, please submit their guide application between July 1st and July 14th. Eleanor Cox and Gerle Shagdar will send you the specific link on July 1st.



Our 13th Annual Hope & Possibility® 5-Mile Run is Sunday, June 28th in New York! Click here to register!

Please Help Achilles New Zealand get 1,000 likes!! 

They are almost there but still need your help!!

April 25 was a big day! Philadelphia and Nashville chapters
of Achilles took part in the Nashville's Country Music Marathon!