FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Anthem Foundation Impacting Blind and Visually Impaired People Nationwide
More than 500 people from 12 agencies participating in USABA Fitness Challenge
Colorado Springs, Colo. (September 16, 2015) – Thanks to a generous $213,120 grant from the Anthem Foundation, the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA) is pleased to implement the National Fitness Challenge for the fourth consecutive year. During the next year, the USABA is partnering with 12 agencies throughout the United States to provide more than 500 blind and visually impaired adults with opportunities to increase their physical fitness levels and live healthier, more active lives.
“We are extremely pleased, honored and excited that the Anthem Foundation is once again supporting our efforts to impact the lives of people who are blind and visually impaired,” said Mark Lucas, executive director of the USABA.
The goal of this program is to raise the physical activity levels of each participant to the level recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). This year’s program will integrate the use of technology and social media to help the participants set goals, create team environments and encourage leadership. The USABA will provide each participant with a Fitbit, which provides a universal way to measure many kinds of activities, calories burned and the number of steps taken. Some of the activities included in this year’s challenge include goalboall, indoor rowing (outdoor if available), running, judo, yoga and couch to 5k/half marathon programs.
Research has consistently shown that individuals who participate in regular physical activity to improve their health have higher energy levels, a lower risk of health-related diseases, improved psychological health, and lower rates of depression and anxiety. Unfortunately, because of the numerous barriers and misconceptions about their abilities, more than half of those who are blind and visually impaired in the United States do not participate in even a limited physical fitness routine.
“The Anthem Foundation helps us continue meeting the company’s commitment to helping individuals lead active lives and avoid the health risks that come from having a sedentary lifestyle and obesity,” said Pam Kehaly, president of Anthem Inc.’s Specialty business and West Region. “This physical fitness challenge is a great program. We believe no one should be denied the opportunity to enjoy the physical and emotional benefits of exercise; therefore, we are very proud to partner with the USABA once again to ensure that vision impairments don’t hinder the recreational opportunities that are available to people.”
The funds from the Anthem Foundation grant will provide each participant with a Fitbit, fitness and nutrition coaches at the partnering agencies, prizes for participants who excel, and technical and financial support for everyone participating in the program.
The 12 agencies that are participating in the USABA-Anthem Foundation National Fitness Challenge program include:
• Atlanta – Georgia Blind Sports Association
• Austin – Texas School for the Blind
• Cincinnati – Cincinnati Association of the Blind and Visually Impaired
• Cleveland –Cleveland Sight Center
• Denver – Association of Blind Athletes of Colorado
• Indianapolis – Turnstone Center
• Kentucky – Independence Place Kentucky
• Los Angeles – Junior Blind of America
• Phoenix – SpoFit
• Sacramento – Sacramento Society for the Blind
• San Francisco – Lighthouse for the Blind
• St. Louis – Delta Gamma Center
About the United States Association of Blind Athletes (USABA)
Since its founding in 1976, USABA, a community-based organization of the United States Olympic Committee, has reached more than 100,000 blind individuals. The organization has emerged as more than just a world-class trainer of blind athletes, it has become a champion of the abilities of Americans who are legally blind. USABA’s mission: to enhance the lives of blind and visually impaired people by providing the opportunity for participation in sports and physical activity. For more information go to http://www.usaba.org
About the Anthem Foundation
The Anthem Foundation is the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc. and through charitable contributions and programs, the Foundation promotes the inherent commitment of Anthem, Inc. to enhance the health and well-being of individuals and families in communities that Anthem, Inc. and its affiliated health plans serve. The Foundation focuses its funding on strategic initiatives that address and provide innovative solutions to health care challenges, as well as promoting the Healthy Generations Program, a multi-generational initiative that targets specific disease
states and medical conditions. These disease states and medical conditions include: prenatal care in the first trimester, low birth weight babies, cardiac morbidity rates, long term activities that decrease obesity and increase physical activity, diabetes prevalence in adult populations, adult pneumococcal and influenza vaccinations and smoking cessation. The Foundation also coordinates the company’s annual associate giving campaign and provides a 50 percent match of associates’ campaign pledges. To learn more about the Anthem Foundation, please visit
Courtney Patterson (USABA)
Donna Page (Anthem)