The Philadelphia Eagles are coming off a 2022-23 NFL season in which they fell just short of winning the Super Bowl. Despite the success the Eagles experienced on the field this past season, the organization remains equally concerned with involvement in the Philadelphia community.
This was very much the case this past weekend at the Eagles’ Sixth Annual Autism Challenge.
The poor weather conditions this past weekend did nothing to deter Philadelphians from participating. In rainy conditions, 4,500 individuals participated in activities ranging from bike riding, running, and walking.
Not only are supporters of the Eagles Autism Challenge challenging themselves to think differently about autism, but they are also challenging themselves to commit to physical activity for a great cause, no matter the weather conditions.
Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie started the Eagles’ Autism Challenge in 2018, and it is now an annual event. The Lincoln Financial Group, which agreed in 2019 with the Eagles’ organization to extend naming rights for Lincoln Financial Field through the 2032 NFL season, sponsors the annual Eagles’ Autism Challenge.
Other Eagles’ Autism Foundation partners include Wawa, Aramak, Freedom Pay, and The Green Family Foundation.
Since Lurie launched the Eagles’ Autism Foundation in 2018, $22 million has been raised for autism research. This year’s rendition of the Eagles Autism Challenge is the most successful. This year, $6.2 million has already been raised as donations continue to roll in until the end of May. Over 25 000 people have already donated to the foundation in 2023.
The Eagles’ success on the field over the course of last season equated to the success of the Eagles’ Autism Foundation. $1 million was raised from the point the Eagles clinched a playoff spot up until the point they played in Super Bowl LVII against the Kansas City Chiefs. As the Eagles gained more success this past season, they never lost sight of what is truly important: coming together to change how people think about autism, not fame or accolades.
At this past weekend’s challenge, Eagles stars Jason Kelce, AJ Brown, and Brandon Graham greeted fans and took part in the challenge, as did other Eagles players.
Kelce is the top fundraiser this year, raising $110,570. Kelce said of the experience:
“Any time that you get an opportunity to interact with the fans, any time that you get an opportunity to raise money for a cause to support families or to support any individuals that need it, I think that’s one of the great roles that a professional athlete has in any city.”
Philadelphians are deeply connected with their sports teams, and this annual event and foundation, on its sixth year in the making, connects the city of Philadelphia even deeper.
No matter the geographic distance that may exist between some Eagles fans, they remain deeply connected and united in changing the way autism is perceived through this annual event.
Jason Kelce said during the event:
“Philadelphia, the fans have such a close relationship with these sports teams, it’s such a huge part of the community, and it’s something that I really enjoy.”
This close relationship is emulated through the city’s unity surrounding changing the future of autism. While some turn a blind eye to the autistic community, Philadelphians and members of the Eagles’ organization foster a supportive environment for the autistic community.
Autism affects more than 75 million people worldwide. Eagles’ owner Jeffrey Lurie is excited to witness the connection Philadelphians have to support the autistic community.
Lurie addressed Eagles’ Autism Challenge participants this past Saturday:
“Your participation is changing the future of autism. We are raising funds for innovative autism research and care programs so that every individual and family has the resources they need. With greater public awareness and advocacy, we can get there.”
To donate and change the future of autism, please follow this link: https://www.eaglesautismchallenge.org/.
Donations run through May 31st, so act quickly!
Photo: Philadelphia Eagles