– American Olympic Gold Medalist alpine ski racer Julia Mancuso and her British counterpart Chemmy Alcott take the lessons they have learned through a lifetime of sports participation and join Right to Play in their journey to bring those same life-affirming lessons to one of the many impoverished and underdeveloped communities in Africa.
As Right to Play ambassadors, Mancuso and Alcott want to experience firsthand how the charity uses sport and play to enhance child development and also to simply put a smile on even just one child's face. They launch their endeavor June 1st, 2008 to first climb Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro and then visit a village in Tanzania.
"We believe in the power of sport and play and that it can enhance child development and literally change lives and eventually societies" says Mancuso, adding "we want to offer our support, not only financially, but physically to the organization and the volunteers in the field who touch lives and make it all happen on a daily basis."
Alcott and Mancuso have set an ambitious fundraising target for the project, looking to raise $40,000. To help achieve this goal they have incorporated the challenge of climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in combination with good old fundraising:
- Both Mancuso and Alcott achieved their goal of raising $7000 by parting with personal race items – 40 autographed race bibs, 4 race helmets, and 4 race suits – at their Memorabilia Charity Auction this past March at JuliaMancuso.com .
- Alcott is raising money at her campaign support page justgiving.com/ChemmyAlcott .
- Both are contributing $5000 of their own money earned through their guest appearance at "The Carlsberg Race" event (in association with Right to Play) earlier this month.
- In addition, they are asking their corporate sponsors to match their own personal contribution as well as receive in-kind sponsorships from interested parties. Most recently British Airways has signed on to cover return flights from Heathrow to Nairobi, a very much appreciated contribution for the cause.
Says Alcott, "We know that as ski racers, we live a very privileged life, but we believe that the opportunities that sport engenders – and has engendered in our own lives – ought to be universally available, regardless of social status or how much money you have."
Mancuso and Alcott join a long list of top international athletes (such as Wayne Gretzky, Dikembe Mutombo, Chelsea Football Club, among many others) who help support Right to Play. They help inspire children, are role models for healthy lifestyle choices and help raise awareness and funds for Right to Play projects.