Everyone benefits from the opportunity to broaden their horizons, create unforgettable memories, grow as an individual, and achieve milestones viewed as too impossible to accomplish. The mission of the California-based nonprofit, Best Day Foundation, delivers on all of the above (and much more). Through their work with local communities, children and young adults with special needs get a chance to enjoy exhilarating outdoor experiences. Best Day provides the appropriate support, training, services, and resources for establishing supervised programs centered on water fun, beach activities, and snow sports.
Sponsorships, grants and donations fuel Best Day events that allow communities to provide thrilling outlets that create lasting bonds, build confidence, and boost the self-esteem of participants. Fundraising plays an integral role in expanding programs to include more people. Working with organizations, such as Giving Assistant, Best Day Foundation is able to make it possible for more special-needs youths to ride a wave, conquer a snow hill, or stand on the “back of a flying dragon,” like Best Day ambassador, Amy Hansen.
Amy is an excellent example of how focused determination and a support team full of positive energy can empower the mind and body to overcome physical and medical obstacles. Born with two particularly rare genetic disorders that affect her skin, bones, brain, eyes and other organs, Amy hadn’t engaged in a wide range of “exciting” activities because of her medical conditions…like becoming a surfer. Being invited to a Best Day event was just the kind of challenging opportunity she needed in her life.
The first time Amy stepped onto a surfboard was invigorating, and she was eager to get back on again. However, her next adventure would hit a bit of a snag, as disease caused the bone in her right femur to fracture. Emergency surgery followed, and Amy was outfitted with a titanium rod in her leg. While in the hospital and having to learn how to walk again, Amy felt her days on the top of the surf were over.
But, this was not acceptable for the Best Day team; they refused to let Amy’s injury take her away from something she truly enjoyed. With her doctors and physical therapist on the same page, everyone shared the same goal of getting Amy back on the board. Eventually, her strength and balance increased. After saying ‘goodbye’ to wheelchair rides, Amy graduated to a walker, and then worked her way up to taking steps without any assistance. In three months’ time, she was ready to rejoin her surf crew at the beach.
It took a couple times to get her sea legs, but by the time the third wave rolled in, Amy slowly rose up and balanced on her feet – riding a wave with the support of a tandem surfer. Back on shore, Amy beamed, “I feel like I can do anything now!”
With the Best Day Foundation cheering her on, Amy was able to overcome her fractured femur; to the point where she could surf again. And, she didn’t stop there…18 months later; Amy completed a Disney 5K run.
“My favorite part of Best Day is the volunteers,” Amy said at a thank you speech to the Foundation’s Orange County chapter at a 5-year anniversary celebration, “…for believing in us and letting us have fun out here.”
Best Day organizes events that support adventure seekers with autism, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, cancer, blindness, Down syndrome, and other physical and developmental challenges. In addition to Orange County, the Foundation has chapters in other parts of California (Los Angeles, San Diego, Ventura, and Santa Barbara counties), as well as in Chesapeake Bay Virginia, Northern North Carolina, New Jersey, and Florida.
Select the Best Day Foundation as your nonprofit of choice to receive donations via your cash back earnings. It is through the generosity of organizations and individuals, like Giving Assistant shoppers, that the Best Day Foundation is able to provide unique experiences to the youth, like Amy.