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This fundraiser ended on 09/08/11

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Help put Alicia Dana back on the road! Send her to the US Paracycling Championships on a new, state-of-the-art handcycle!

FINAL DAYS! This online fundraising effort will expire on Sept. 8 — PLEASE DONATE TODAY!

Alicia Brelsford Dana of Putney VT is a single mother, who is paralyzed from the waist down due to an accident in which she fell out of a tree as a teenager.

She is also a competitive handcyclist and is in training for the USA Cycling Paracycling National Championships next June in Augusta, GA. (A handcycle is basically a bicycle propelled by hand power.)

On July 30, her custom-made handcycle was stolen from the side of the road, where she had been forced to leave it because of a flat tire. Her friends are now raising money not only to replace the seriously outdated machine ($8,000) but also to help pay for travel to the national championships and to support her training.

UPDATE, 8/9/2011: Yesterday an unknown out-of-state Good Samaritan returned it to Alicia. Of course, this was due, quite ironically, to all the publicity generated by this fund raising effort (including everyone's help in spreading the word).

But this development doesn't really change the need to replace the cycle. The returned machine is 11 years old. It is a 1999 "Freedom Ryder" design, quite inferior to the newer, much lighter, more ergonomic and faster models that are now used by the top competitors at the national and international levels.

Alicia is still a serious contender at these levels and needs to have the best equipment. So we have shifted the goal of the effort: we want to send Alicia to the US National Paracycling Championships next June with the best possible, 21st-century handcycle.

In addition, the funds raised will help support Alicia's training and travel costs. This includes: Training Camp in Colorado at the US Olympic Training Center in September; Three-Notch Century Ride to support Northeast Passage (adaptive recreation non-profit based at UNH) in early September; US Handcycling series final race of the 2011 season, "Capital Criterium" in Washington, D.C on October 2; a windtrainer for off-season training; US Handcycling series races Spring/Summer 2012, including the National Championships in Georgia ... and more!!

We ask for your support for this very important goal. Alicia's athletic accomplishments will continue to be an inspiration to all of us and to anyone who hears about her; she deserves our help.

PLEASE CONTRIBUTE VIA THIS PAGE! Or if you wish, you may mail your donation to DCDESIGN • 139 Main St. • Brattleboro, VT 05301 made out to "Alicia Dana."

PLEASE SHARE ON FACEBOOK! (Click "Promote" link at left!)

All donors will be entered into a raffle for prizes (which are still being gathered), including this Grand Prize: a private garden tour for six people in the world-renowned Westminster VT garden of Gordon and Mary Hayward, followed by wine and cheese in the garden and a chance to hear all about the Haywards' work and discuss garden design with them.

A special fund raising event, with raffle prize drawings and recognition for donors, is being planned for Sept. 1. Stay tuned for details!

Local sponsors of this fund raising effort include West Hill Shop in Putney, the Putney Food Coop, New England Disabled Sports, the Tour de Heifer and Strolling of the Heifers, Gordon and Mary Hayward, and Elizabethan Fare Catering.

A thousand thanks to Brattleboro Savings & Loan for their awesome $1,000 offline donation!

MORE ABOUT DANA AND HER HANDCYCLING CAREER:

Born and raised in Southern Vermont and the youngest of five, Alicia grew up cross-country skiing and was competitive in the sport from the age of 5. She started bike racing at age 14, and hit her stride at ages 16 and 17 when she competed in nationals for 2 years.

She was in love with the sport when she fell 40 feet from a tree during her senior year at The Putney School and became instantly paralyzed from the waist down. She moved to Miami for a year, where she began wheelchair racing and did some marathons, but when handcycles were invented, she became a passionate racer.

In 2000, she handcycled across the country (Washington state to Vermont) to raise money and awareness for disability-related causes including Adaptive sports/ Breckenridge Outdoor Athletic Association; Research for a Cure for Paralysis/The Spinal Cord Injury Project; and disabled women who build their own wheelchairs in developing countries, called Whirlwind Women.

After this ride, she found herself in excellent shape and, with the encouragement of a friend, began handcycle racing.

Her first season, she beat the reigning female champion in the sport, and made her way onto the US Team, competing in Germany in the World Championships in 2001. She also became national criterion champion in 2001, and won the "Challenge Alaska," a 6-day stage race from Fairbanks to Anchorage. (MOST OF THE PICTURES AT LEFT ARE FROM THIS RACE!)

After marriage and the birth of her child, she took a long break from competition, and only recently has she gotten back into it. Alicia is now 42 years old.

This past spring in 2011, she won the Vermont City Marathon in Burlington, which inspired her to compete in the National Championships in Augusta, GA in June, just to see where she is "at" relative to the current elite competition. She found out the hard way that her equipment was vastly outdated, and that she needed to make training a serious commitment if she wanted to really be competitive again.

Back when she was on the US Team (2001), there were only two other women at her level, and the three of them placed second, third and fourth at the world championships. Today, there are six US women (including Dana) who are competitive at an elite level, and many, many more Europeans who are dominating.

She has been training hard since Nationals, and doing research into the best choice of upgraded equipment. The loss of her old trusty “Freedom Ryder” handcycle has been a blow, but also a wake-up call that she needed to find a way to upgrade as soon as possible, so as not to lose precious days of training.

A new handcycle that would be competitive with the current standards costs about $8,000. It is called the Top End Force R which is faster, lighter and stiffer than the original design and it is packed with 15 new and exciting improvements, road tested and designed with consumer feedback. The Force R is all about comfort, speed and aerodynamics to 30 speeds, a totally fixed fork and/or new carbon wheels. (CLICK VIDEO LINK AT LEFT TO SEE HOW THE FORCE R WORKS!)

Dana is aiming to compete in the National Championships again next June, and this time, she wants to really be ready for the USA Cycling Para Cycling National Championships in Augusta, GA.

FUNDRAISING UPDATES:

Fri. Aug. 6: Dede Cummings and Alicia sold raffle tickets in front of Burrows Specialized Sports on Main Street, Brattleboro during Gallery Walk. Thank very much for your help, Woody! Also, the campaign received on offline contribution of $1,000 from Brattleboro Savings & Loan — thanks very much, Dan Yates, CEO!

Sat. Aug. 7: Alicia posted this on Facebook: "THANK YOU ALL!! It really is so overwhelmingly Awesome how much people care and want to help, no matter their personal circumstances...my heart overfloweth..!"

Tue. Aug. 9: See update near top of this page.

Don't forget, you can mail your contribution if you want. Send to DCDESIGN • 139 Main St. • Brattleboro, VT 05301 made out to "Alicia Dana."

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