On May 19, 2018 as some turned on their TVs to watch the Royal Wedding, more than 3,000 people gathered together with the Philadelphia Eagles to bike, run, and walk in Lincoln Financial Field as a part of the Eagles Autism Challenge.
After taking some time after the Super Bowl season to reflect, Jeffrey Lurie, owner of the Eagles, became aware of the large public platform the team has been given after their big win and decided that it should be used for doing good. He decided to rally the troops behind autism research because of his personal experience and knowledge of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
The Eagles Autism Challenge was born: the Eagles’ own cycling and 5K run/walk charity event which raises funds for cutting-edge autism research. This year alone, the event raised an incredible $2.5 million for research and autism care.
Lurie, taken aback by the support and enthusiasm of those who came out to the charity event, wrote in a reflective piece in Sports Illustrated, “our hope is that the Eagles Autism Challenge will be a signature event for funding autism research.” And it will. Next year’s fundraising goal is even more ambitious, as Lurie and the team strive to achieve their other goal of making Philadelphia the top location for autism research and care.
As Lurie thinks about his vision for the Autism Challenge for years to come, he writes in his Sports Illustrated article, “this is bigger than me, the Philadelphia Eagles or our city. We must collectively work together to shift from autism awareness to action.”
We’re inspired by the Eagles’ commitment to making a change in their community, and hope that other sports teams will follow suit by using the national platform they’ve been given for good.