Project Athena Changes Lives with 24 Hour Santa Barbara Multisport Adventure

Project Athena Changes Lives with 24 Hour Santa Barbara Multisport Adventure Project Athena Changes Lives with 24 Hour Santa Barbara Multisport Adventure Project Athena Changes Lives with 24 Hour Santa Barbara Multisport Adventure

Project Athena Changes Lives with 24 Hour Santa Barbara Multisport Adventure

A non-profit foundation that encourages women who’ve endured life-altering medical setbacks to unleash their ‘inner Athlete’ and live out their adventurous dreams takes survivors on a 24 hour multisport adventure through Santa Barbara as part of their recovery.

[San Diego, CA – July 18, 2017] – The Project Athena Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit foundation based out of San Diego, CA. Their mission is to help women survivors who have endured cancer and other life-altering medical setbacks to unleash the ‘Athlete and Adventurer’ within as part of their recovery. At Project Athena, they believe it’s all about the comeback, and they have six adventures of their own design to help these female survivors discover their inner badass. In June, they undertook their second adventure of the year, a 24-hour multisport adventure spanning the coastal and mountain regions of Santa Barbara. 

The Santa Barbara 24 Hour Multisport Adventure Trek is a non-competitive adventure race designed to promote teamwork, while navigating a series of check points throughout Santa Barbara. On June 23rd, a group of 20 participants took on this daunting task, spending 24-30 hours, and roughly 81 miles, exploring a specially designed course by sea kayak, mountain bike, and night hiking. The course, created by the experienced team at Project Athena, gives a unique look into the world of Adventure Racing while helping survivors live out their adventurous dreams.

This year's chosen Athena, Michele Holbrook, is a continuing warrior of NF (neurofibromatosis). NF is a genetic disorder that disturbs cell growth specifically in the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and other nerves. While most of the tumors that are generated at benign, others may be malignant, and this is something Michele will fight against her whole life. Being diagnosed with NF undoubtedly changed her life forever, but she refuses to let it change her. 

When asked about her most defining moment of the adventure, she responded:

“My most defining moment was when I crossed the finish line knowing I finished. My emotions were so raw and I realized that you just need to always continue to dig deep! I have never considered myself a ‘Bad-Ass’. This adventure has shown me that anyone can do something if they put their mind to it, there might be some challenges and obstacles to overcome, but you just have to continue to fight and push through. I loved how the Trail Angels and staff were willing to give their heart and soul to help others and never leave anyone behind. Always willing to carry a backpack, tow you on a line, and continually encourage you by saying ‘You’ve got this!’ when you felt you couldn't take one more step! They knew!”

The emotions evoked by these adventures is the exact reason Robyn Benincasa, a 2014 CNN Hero and San Diego Firefighter, created the Project Athena Foundation. 

“It’s not about trying to get back to what you were,” explains Benincasa. “It’s about trying to be the best of what you’re capable of today, this minute. The most gratifying thing is the moment when you see someone realize they’re going to make it, when you see the fear disappear and they realize how awesome they are!”

Benincasa created the Project Athena Foundation after encountering her own medical setback. For a ten-time Ironman Finisher, being granted two bionic hips and a diagnosis of never being able to run again rocked her world. After five-total hip replacements, she discovered a new love for paddling, even going on to become a three-time Guinness Endurance Paddling World Record Holder.

Now, with the help of her hand crafted team of Trail Angels, Benincasa aims to give these Survivors the same new perspective on life. 

“I have the opportunity now to tell others with challenges that if I can do it, then so can you! I take pride in telling others I am part of the Project Athena Foundation Family! This organization is amazing and what it can do for others is extraordinary.” Explains Holbrook, when asked how she plans to use her new found lease on life to empower others. “I have encouraged my girlfriend to sign up. She has had breast cancer twice and lives with MS. I plan to join her on whatever adventure she gets approved for as a fundraising Goddess and also plan to participate in the 2018 Florida Keys to Recovery Adventure! I might just sign up for Santa Barbara again next year too!”

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For more information about this adventure, please visit http://projectathena.org/athena-adventure/santa-barbara-intro-to-adventure-racing/.

To follow along on this adventure be sure to LIKE us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProjectAthena.

For more information about the Project Athena Foundation, upcoming 2017/2018 adventures, or to apply as either an Athena [Survivor] or Fundraising God or Goddess, please visit www.projectathena.org or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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About Project Athena

Project Athena is a 501c3 non-profit foundation that encourages women who’ve endured life-altering medical setbacks to unleash the Athlete and Adventurer within and complete the journey of a lifetime. Project Athena provides travel expenses, entry fees, coaching, equipment, and, most importantly, the encouragement and inspiration needed to help strong, amazing women make that life-affirming transition from Survivor to Athlete.

 
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