- Devika Rao For the AJC
David Bergman and Michael Higgins have been friends for many years and have completed multiple ironman triathlons, marathons and other long-distance cycling adventures. Now, The “Blaze Brothers” are planning their next endeavor — a bicycle trip across America, from coast-to-coast, to support local nonprofit organization, BlazeSports America.
BlazeSports is dedicated to improving the lives of children and military veterans who have disabilities by providing adaptive sport opportunities. This organization currently funds over 25 sports programs, clinics and camps for children and military veterans with disabilities.
“When BlazeSports first started their track program years ago they planned to practice at Centennial High School, where I am the head track coach. BlazeSports contacted me to see if I knew of any retired coaches who might be willing to help out. I had heard of the organization and what they did, and I volunteered on the spot,” said Higgins.
Combined with Bergman’s long time plan to do a bike trip across the country, the two friends will kick off Blaze Across America on May 27 from Tybee Island and finish in San Francisco on July 3. They will be joined in Colorado with friend Vik Nat who will complete the trip on the West Coast. Overall, Bergman and Higgins will be biking for 38 days covering over 3,600 cycle miles, through 14 states.
“We’ve never had anyone undertake such a significant initiative and endeavor with the goal of raising awareness about the transformative power of sports for people of all abilities — and specifically for the incredible work that goes on right here in our own community changing the lives of people with disabilities through sports and recreation,” said Cynthia Frisina, executive director of BlazeSports America.
The money raised from Blaze Across America will help BlazeSports to provide more opportunities to more kids and veterans to participate in sports and get off of the sidelines of life and onto the playing field. It will help provide coaching, programs, camps, clinics, adaptive sports equipment and opportunities to compete.
Volunteers can also support the organization by getting involved in kids sports programs, working with veterans, helping with events and competitions, marketing and communications, transportation needs, international programs and much more.
“We hope people are inspired by our effort, but what we really hope is that people are touched by our inspiration - the athletes of BlazeSports. These kids and veterans with disabilities are the toughest athletes we’ve ever seen,” added Higgins. “Through this effort, we hope we can help bring more programs to more athletes with disabilities.”