The Philadelphia Eagles are thrilled to announce that the **2nd annual Eagles Autism Challenge** presented by Lincoln Financial Group will take place on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Lincoln Financial Field. One hundred percent of participant-raised funds from the team's signature cycling and 5K run/walk event will go on to benefit world-class institutions that are conducting cutting-edge autism research in Philadelphia. The inaugural event, held in May 2018, raised in excess of $2.5 million, included the participation of more than 3,300 bikers, runners and walkers, and featured 24,700 donors from 20 countries.
The Center for Disease Control estimates that one in 59 people under the age of 21 living in the United States are on the autism spectrum, a significant increase from two years ago when the ratio stood at one in 68. Autism has become one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the country, yet it has historically been underfunded, misunderstood and under-researched. The Eagles Autism Challenge is partnering with thought leaders to advance scientific discoveries all with the goal of having a transformational impact around the world.
"By providing critical resources to forward-thinking institutions and researchers in the field, the Eagles Autism Challenge is creating a major shift from awareness to action," said Jeffrey Lurie, Philadelphia Eagles Chairman & CEO. "While a high emphasis has been placed on autism in recent years, there is still so much more we can learn. We are incredibly grateful to our beneficiary institutions, participants, supporters, sponsors and Eagles fans for fully embracing our efforts in year one. As we turn the page to 2019, we look forward to taking another monumental step in advancing autism research with our community."
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 signature fundraising event features three cycling routes – the Wawa Junior 15-Mile Ride, Wawa Shorti 30-Mile Ride and the Wawa Classic 50-Mile Ride – that offer participants a chance to ride through the City of Philadelphia and its suburbs. The Five Below 5K Run/Walk has been mapped and certified by US Track & Field and will take participants on a scenic journey around the neighborhood. New to the Eagles Autism Challenge this year will be the 5K Sensory Walk, which provides a shorter course around the outside perimeter of Lincoln Financial Field for participants who may face sensory challenges. All five routes will end at Lincoln Financial Field with participants crossing the finish line at the 50-yard line where an on-field celebration awaits. There is also a virtual participant option for those who want to fundraise but are unable to ride, run or walk on event day.
In addition to collaborating with last year's founding beneficiary partners – Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Drexel University, and Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health – the Eagles Autism Challenge will be accepting applications from other institutions in the Philadelphia area specializing in autism research. To ensure the integrity of the process, a scientific advisor has been recruited to evaluate all project proposals. What is learned here will be shared nationally and globally so that the broadest impact can be achieved.
Each participant will be responsible for a registration fee as well as a fundraising minimum. To register, supporters are encouraged to visit **eaglesautismchallenge.org**. The registration fee and fundraising minimums are as follows:
• 50-Mile Bike Ride (age 18+): $150 registration fee; $1,000 fundraising minimum
• 30-Mile Bike Ride (age 18+): $150 registration fee; $750 fundraising minimum
• 15-Mile Bike Ride (ages 18+): $150 registration fee; $500 fundraising minimum
• 15-Mile Bike Ride (ages 13-17): $150 registration fee; $250 fundraising minimum
• 5K Run/Walk (ages 18+): $50 registration fee; $350 fundraising minimum
• 5K Run/Walk (ages 13-17): $50 registration fee; $250 fundraising minimum
• 5K Sensory Walk (ages 18+): $50 registration fee; $350 fundraising minimum
• 5K Sensory Walk (ages 13-17): $50 registration fee; $250 fundraising minimum
• Virtual Participant: $25 registration fee; $350 fundraising minimum
Participants who sign up as a cyclist prior to Monday, November 5 will have $50 waived off their registration fee. Registrants can use the promo code "ride19" on **eaglesautismchallenge.org**.
Participants will receive access to the Friday Kick-Off Party and Saturday's Finish Line Celebration at Lincoln Financial Field, free food and beverage, 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 certain fundraising milestones over the course of the year. Unique incentives can be achieved at the All-Pro ($2,500+), All-Pro Plus ($5,000+), Hall of Fame ($10,000+), Legend ($25,000+), Champion ($50,000+) and MVP ($100,000+) levels, in addition to the top fundraising individual and top fundraising team. Prizes include: VIP Training Camp and mini-camp experiences, player and coach meet-and-greets, Eagles tickets, autographed helmets, jerseys and footballs, special cycling jersey to commemorate fundraising level and VIP access to Friday Kick-Off Party and Saturday's Finish Line Celebration.
Eagles fans and Eagles Autism Challenge supporters are still encouraged to enter the Eagles World Championship Ring Sweepstakes which runs through Sunday, September 30. For as little as a $10 donation to the Eagles Autism Challenge, one lucky fan will have the opportunity to win a personalized version of the Official Philadelphia Eagles World Championship Ring. All entries can be submitted by visiting **www.prizeo.com/EaglesRing** and proceeds from the sweepstakes benefit the Eagles Autism Challenge.
For more information on the Eagles Autism Challenge, please visit **eaglesautismchallenge.org**.
The inaugural Eagles Autism Challenge, a one-day bike ride and family-friendly 5K run/walk, kicked off this weekend! It began with a party at Lincoln Financial Field on Friday night ahead of the main event on Saturday. Take a look at photos from the very first Eagles Autism Challenge.