Training Together for a Cure
Madison Magazine: What is Team Challenge?
Amanda Hall: It’s an official training program for endurance events that also serves as a fundraising organization for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). We train together for half-marathons or triathlons and establish fundraising goals for each event. There are Team Challenge groups across the country and when combined races can raise anywhere from $1 million to $40 million for CCFA.
MM: How did you get involved?
AH: A friend of mine saw a flyer and said we should do it together so I agreed to go to an information session to try it out. My husband has ulcerative colitis and is one of my biggest inspirations every day. Team Challenge gives me some power to do something and help him fight this disease by raising money that is crucial to research. It’s amazing how many people I’ve been able to meet and the adversity that they have gone through.
MM: What was the most difficult part about joining Team Challenge?
AH: I was really scared about the training and sometimes other people are too. I couldn’t run a mile when I first started and now I’ve completed half-marathons. You don’t have to be a great athlete to join—just willing to train towards a goal. Most people I’ve met end up surpassing their training goals!
MM: What are some of your roles as a mentor in Team Challenge?
AH: Starting out can be confusing at first, so veteran members are important for helping new members learn about fundraising and encouraging them to train. Our coaches set up practices for us but mentors are there to give you a wake-up call and be a training buddy while you’re first starting out. Learning how to fundraise can also be challenging. Every event has a fundraising goal that can seem daunting but many people are able to meet or exceed their goal each time. As a mentor I help teach members how to talk to their friends and family and ask for donations even if they’ve already been generous before.
MM: What is the most rewarding part of this experience for you?
AH: Lots of times when people give money they don’t see the direct effects, but since I’ve started training and raising money through Team Challenge there have been several advances in research and medicine. Seeing how these new treatments can improve the life of someone fighting these diseases makes all of my training and fundraising mean something. Every dollar is going to the ultimate end goal to find a cure.
To learn more or get involved with Team Challenge, visit ccteamchallenge.org. To help raise awareness for digestive diseases, consider walking in the Madison Take Steps for Crohn’s and Colitis Walk on June 14, 2014.