The 10th Annual Anthem Sunrise Ascent on Mt. Washington held on August 4th saw 13 athletes with various disabilities reach the summit of Mt. Washington and raised more than $100,000 to support year-round opportunities for sports, recreation, and wellness for people with disabilities. This major event benefits Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country (ASPNC) and New England Disabled Sports (NEDS).
The Anthem Sunrise Ascent challenges athletes with varying degrees and types of disabilities to reach the summit of Mt. Washington, the highest peak in the Northeast, by hiking the Mt. Washington Auto Road. This year, 13 adaptive athletes—each with their own support team—successfully completed the inspiring and arduous journey to the summit. The event drew nearly 300 individuals from all over the New England region and beyond.
“The Anthem Sunrise Ascent raises nearly 1/3 of the annual budget for ASPNC” says ASPNC Executive Director Thomas Shovlin. “None of this would be possible without the support of hundreds of participants, community businesses and donors, and our two top-level sponsors, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield in New Hampshire and the Mt. Washington Auto Road.” Anthem was the summit sponsor and the Mt. Washington Auto Road delays its opening and provides significant contributions as the host of this event.
In addition to the challenge of reaching the summit, each team competes in a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign with the goal of raising $6,288 for the height of Mt. Washington. Nearly every team reached this goal. The top fundraising team was led by Sasha Segal of Woodsville, NH. Together, Team Sasha raised over $30,000. Other teams were led by Becca Coulter of Lancaster, NH, Bex Fillmore of South Weymouth, MA, Charlie Walker of Littleton, NH, Chester Eastwood of Conway, NH, Jimbo Bonneau of Rochester, NH, Erik Kondo of Lexington, MA, Greg Durso of Burlington, VT, Jesse Walker of Wolfeboro, NH, Marsha Gray of Waterford, VT, Linda Shurpik of Concord, NH, and Martin Wallem of Epping, NH.
“This event continues to grow every year, and its due to the passion of our volunteers, participants, and donors and sponsors. It goes to show the power of team work and community and does so much to provide life-enriching opportunities for people with disabilities. We are looking forward to an even bigger event, including more athletes next year on August 2, 2020 for our 11th Annual Sunrise Ascent,” says Shovlin. “Thank you to the Mt. Washington Auto Road, Mt. Washington State Park, our summit sponsor Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire, our halfway house sponsor Bank of New Hampshire, our mile marker sponsors Eversource and Noyle Johnson Insurance, mule team sponsors FLIR, Franconia Gas, Turtle Ridge Foundation, Paramount Electric, and our toll house sponsors Tender Corporation, Walker Motor Sales, Inc., Little City Thrift Store, and Franconia Auto Service Team — all of whom made this milestone 10th year the best yet.”
“Improving the lives of the people in our communities is our mission at Anthem. That’s why we’re proud to be a supporter of Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country and New England Disabled Sports and everything they do to help Granite Staters with disabilities stay active, especially helping them achieve the amazing accomplishment of trekking up Mt. Washington,” said Lisa Guertin, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in New Hampshire.
To learn more about this event and the athletes, or to donate to a team, please visit www.sunriseascent.org. Donations are still being accepted through the month of August. To contact ASPNC, visit www.adaptivesportspartners.org.
Photo courtesy of Kris Dobbins Photography, Easton, NH