The Philadelphia Eagles have announced that the fifth annual Eagles Autism Challenge presented by Lincoln Financial Group will take place on Saturday, May 21, 2022 at Lincoln Financial Field. One hundred percent of participant-raised funds from the team's signature cycling and 5K run/walk event will continue to benefit institutions conducting cutting-edge autism research and care.
Participants can now register for the 2022 Eagles Autism Challenge at EaglesAutismChallenge.org.
Led by Philadelphia Eagles Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lurie, players, coaches, team legends, Eagles fans, and autism supporters, the 2021 Eagles Autism Challenge – held on Saturday, August 21 – raised more than $2.7 million thanks to donors from 15 countries, 1,850 participants, and 12,819 donations. Since the first year of the Eagles Autism Challenge in 2018, a total of 36 countries and 76,788 donations have contributed to the more than $12 million raised through the Eagles Autism Foundation.
"The 2022 Eagles Autism Challenge marks a momentous occasion because it represents the hard work, investment, and year-round devotion that so many people have put forth to make our event special," said Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles Chairman & CEO. "In just four years, two of which included a global pandemic, we have been able to raise a remarkable $12 million for autism research, which speaks to a resilient community dedicated to this effort. Their support continues to amaze and inspire us. As we approach the Year Five milestone, we are more committed than ever to this journey and to providing much-needed support and resources to those in need."
The Eagles Autism Challenge is a one-day bike ride and family-friendly 5K run/walk that begins and ends at Lincoln Financial Field. The event features three cycling routes – Wawa Junior 10-Mile Ride, Wawa Shorti 30-Mile Ride, and Wawa Classic 50-Mile Ride – that offer participants a chance to navigate through the City of Philadelphia and its suburbs. The 5K run/walk has been mapped and certified by US Track & Field and takes participants on a scenic journey around the neighborhood. For families and participants with sensory challenges, the Sensory Walk provides a shorter course around the outside perimeter of Lincoln Financial Field. For those who want to fundraise but are unable to ride, run, or walk on event day, there is a virtual participant option.
All five routes end at Lincoln Financial Field with participants crossing the finish line at the 50-yard line. Participants are welcomed back to an on-field celebration, family-friendly field activities, and an awards ceremony featuring special guests. Participants are also invited to attend the Friday Night Kickoff Party at Lincoln Financial Field on May 20 to commence the celebratory weekend. Additionally, participants will receive a cycling jersey or 5K t-shirt, finish line medal, and a complimentary gift bag. Exclusive experience prizes and autographed memorabilia will be offered to participants who reach specific fundraising milestones during the year.
All participants who sign up by Friday, December 31, 2021 will have 50% of their registration fee waived as part of the special "Early Bird" promotion. Registrants can use the promo code "earlybird22" when signing up.
Check out the best photos from the 2021 Eagles Autism Challenge!
The Eagles Autism Challenge, which started with Lurie's vision to bring people together to support the autism community, sets out to fund innovative research, drive scientific breakthroughs, and provide critical resources, all in an effort to create a major shift from awareness to action.
"The Eagles Autism Challenge has been an amazing way for Eagles fans to further connect with the team," said Ryan Hammond, Executive Director of the Eagles Autism Foundation. "Through our work serving the autism community, we have found that it has also helped grow our fanbase. The impact our event has had on families in need, the research community, and individuals who are learning about autism for the first time is a testament to the incredible support we have received. We are truly grateful for everyone who has stepped up to become an advocate for this important cause."
Through fundraising efforts associated with the Eagles Autism Foundation, a total of 44 research projects and community grants have been funded for exploratory work in the field of autism since 2018. The funding process for the $2.7 million raised in 2021 is currently underway and will award grants to approved institutions in the coming months.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one in 54 people living in the United States are on the autism spectrum. Autism is a complex neurological and developmental condition that expresses itself differently in each individual. The spectrum can range from having challenges in the areas of social skills and nonverbal communication to repetitive interests and behaviors. While it has become one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the country, it has historically been underfunded, misunderstood, and under-researched.