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Standing Tall
What a bike, Oprah, and mud can do. Plus: Win a safari at the screenings of Emmanuel's Gift or by participating in the Muddy Buddy Adventure Ride and Run Series (see "Win a Safari" at left for details). By Mary Anne Potts

Photo: Muddy
UPLIFTING: In July, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah will receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, once presented to Muhammad Ali.

When a letter from Ghana landed on the desk of Bob Babbitt, 53, co-founder of the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), he was moved. Born without a right tibia, Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, 29, was writing to ask the CAF for a bike to pedal 370 miles (595 kilometers) across his country in order to dispel the stigma that Ghana's disabled are incapable of more than begging. When Yeboah's 2002 ride stirred a media frenzy, Babbitt contacted Lookalike Productions about the remarkable story starting to unfold. The new documentary, Emmanuel's Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey, has won over audiences at screenings across the country. Here Babbitt—who is also co-founder of the Muddy Buddy Ride and Run Series, a seven-city, Adventure-sponsored event benefiting the CAF—talks about Yeboah's impact.

Yeboah received a $25,000 grant from Nike (matched by the CAF) and won the attention of Oprah Winfrey and fellow Ghanaian Kofi Annan. Did you foresee such a reaction?

Not at all. But the difference between hearing someone's story and seeing it on film is immense. With his grant money, Emmanuel is sending disabled kids in Ghana to school and providing them with opportunities. Those kids will start to change the Ghanaian perception of disabled people. Even though no one would question it if Emmanuel stayed in the U.S., he wants to be in Ghana. He's galvanized the disabled individuals of his country.

How did Yeboah get his prosthetic leg?

After his cross-country ride, we invited Emmanuel to do the 56-mile (90-kilometer) biking portion of the CAF triathlon in San Diego. He'd never left Ghana before. We then explored whether he was a candidate for a prosthetic leg. In Ghana, people who have amputations don't live, or they get a useless prosthetic. After Emmanuel had the operation in the U.S., he did the CAF race again, cutting his time from seven to four hours. He also did the Muddy Buddy in 2003.

Disabled athletes are encouraged to enter the Muddy Buddy race, which kicks off in San Jose, California, in June. Do they inspire other racers?

The impact is remarkable. Sandy Dukat, a skier sponsored by the CAF, came out to the Chicago Muddy Buddy in 2003. Just before she got to the mud pit at the end of the race, she pulled out an Allen wrench, unscrewed her $36,000 prosthetic leg, held it above her head for the racers at the finish line, and dove in. The crowd went wild.

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Additional Excerpts
From the print edition, June/July 2005

• Great Parks 2005: Super Tours, Spectacular Lodges
**Win a Safari: Find out how you could win a safari for two by participating in the Muddy Buddy race or attending the screenings of Emmanuel's Gift.
Steroids on Everest: Some climbers are using them to cope with altitude sickness, but at what price?
Guns 'n' Butter: Pulitzer Prize-winning author Philip Caputo talks about his new novel, Acts of Faith.
Pelton's World: Our man on the scene tells when to fight or take flight.
Croatia By Sea: Contributing Editor Jon Bowermaster's dispatches from sea kayaking along the Dalmatian Coast.
"Life's an Adventure" Reader Photo Album: See readers' photos and submit your own.


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Win a Safari!

Adventure magazine is a proud supporter of the Challenged Athletes Foundation [CAF] and a sponsor of the Muddy Buddy Ride and Run Series. Here are two unique opportunities for you to win a safari:

Emmanuel's Gift screenings
in July

Logo: Bushways
Attend the Emmanuel's Gift screenings in Washington, D.C. or Los Angeles this July and you'll qualify to win an 11-day Bush Ways safari for two in Botswana, with airfare provided by Land Rover—valued at over $9,200! Go to www.challengedathletes.org to order screening tickets.

• July 11—Los Angeles
Harmony Gold Theater

• July 21—Washington, D.C.
NGS Grosvenor Auditorium

Muddy Buddy Ride and Run Series
Win a safari, compliments of Kenya Tourism, by participating in one of the seven Muddy Buddy races. The six-mile adventure race of biking, running, and a grand finale mud pit is a benefit for the CAF. Go to www.muddybuddy.com to register.

2005 Muddy Buddy Season
• June 12—San Jose, California
• June 26—Boston, Massachusetts
• July 17—Richmond, Virginia
• August 7—Austin, Texas
• August 21—Denver, Colorado
• September 11—Chicago, Illinois
• October 23—Los Angeles, California

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June/July 2005

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