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12th Annual Cheers for Challenger Event Recap

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
September 20, 2018
Photo collage from the 12th annual Cheers for Challenger event

Approximately 200 guests gathered at Boulevard Brewery on September 19, 2018 for the 12th annual Cheers for Challenger fundraiser presented by the Fred and Jami Pryor Foundation. The event benefited the Y's Challenger program that offers recreational, social, swim and other activities for young people with diverse abilities.

Guests enjoyed fine food and beverages, silent and live auctions, and live entertainment by the Country Duo.

A brief program focused on the impact that Challenger activities have on everyone involved in Challenger, from donors to volunteers to participants and their families.

Four Challenger athletes, Henry DeVry, Alison Hickerson, Josef Kepus and Kaylee Walker, each shared their favorite things about Challenger. “Playing with the Chiefs and dancing with the Chiefs cheerleaders,” said Alison. She smiled as she shared her recent experience at the annual Challenger Chiefs Cheer clinic, where she was able to learn cheers, make posters and interact with Chiefs Cheerleaders. Alison and her mother were also featured in a video presented during the program.

“I like to bowl because it is fun and I get to be with friends I know,” added Henry.

All four Challenger athletes signed a buddy volunteer shirt and presented it as a token of appreciation Fred and Jami Pryor, the presenting sponsors of Cheers for Challenger.

Fred Pryor also spoke about his personal history with the YMCA and his family's connection to the special needs community. Pryor's foundation has supported the Challenger program for many years and the Y's adaptive sports complex includes his namesake. “Many others in the program, who I haven’t even met yet, are going to enjoy that for years to come,” said Raegan Schurr, Sr. Adaptive Program Director, referring to the sports complex. 

Additional speakers also reflected on their Y experiences and how the Challenger program ensures that individuals of all needs can have a Y experience. 

“We all have memories of the Y," said Jenny Burkhead Johnson, Cheers for Challenger committee chair. "It’s really nice now that these kids can have their memories, too.” 

“The Challenger Program is not about a Cheers event and a fashion show," said Greg Westbrook, YMCA Board of Directors and longtime Challenger supporter. "It is 365 days a year that we show up for these individuals and these families that have special needs and who are incredibly special people.” 

David Byrd, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Kansas City, thanked all sponsors, donors, attendees and volunteers for their support. “You are spending time to serve and help others," Byrd said. "And that’s why God has us on this earth, I’m convinced of it. No matter what faith you walk from, I hope you are waking up every day thinking about, ‘How do I make a difference in the life of another human being?’ Because that’s really, at the end of the day, what really counts.”

Visit our Google Photos album to view event photos. 

To make support the Challenger program, click here. To learn more about upcoming events supporting the Challenger program, click here

Watch Video: Alison Becomes A Challenger All-Star