Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Special evening with Robyn Benincasa and Team Project Athena

Adventure Racing legend Robyn Benincasa is passing through Jo'burg on her way, with her Project Athena team, to the Namib Desert Challenge. Last night we had a lovely dinner - attended by Project Athena and a bunch of local racers.

Robyn has been racing for 15 years now and it is little wonder that tv producer Mark Burnett chose to profile her in his Eco Challenge shows. She's an accomplished athlete who is strong, determined, articulate and presentable. She has raced at the highest level for much of this time - one of the greats of this sport.

Two-and-a-half years ago Robyn founded the Project Athena Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to helping women who've endured major medical setbacks achieve their athletic dreams. As she says, "Doctors cure the body; Project Athena cures the spirit". Sometimes people just need someone next to them to help them along the trail of life.

Project Athena came about after Robyn's first hip resurfacing operation where she was helped by friends. She is currently five months out of her second hip op - yes, she truly is bionic, metal hips and all!

The six other Project Athena women running with Robyn have all made it through (or are living with) major medical issues: breast cancers, uterine cancer, spinal degeneration, osteoarthritis...

There's a valuable message that these women tell through their actions. They are ambassadors, not only for women who have undergone similar major medical setbacks, but also for everyone of us - guys and girls - in everyday life. Their actions remind us to celebrate wellness by doing the things we love, sharing it with those around us and to keep doing these things... in sickness and in health.

Lisa (front right) pictured with...
(Back) Melissa, Grant (Grant is local), Kerrie
(Middle) Florence, Jonea, Masha, Robyn
(Front) Louise & Lisa

In discussion with Robyn, I'm setting up a South African 'branch' of Project Athena, something I've been interested in for some time. More on this to follow as we sort out how it will work here.

Robyn, Melissa and Louise, it was a delight to see you again. Jonea, Florence, Masha and Kerrie, I'm so pleased to have met you.Good luck in Namibia.

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