2018 World T.E.A.M. Annual Review 2018 World T.E.A.M. Annual Review - Page 27

Diana Nyad is the first endurance athlete to swim the 110.86 miles from Cuba to Florida’s Key West in 2013, a remarkable feat that she completed in 52 hours and 54 minutes. The following year, in consultation with her expedition leader Bonnie Stoll, they had a vision of humanity covering the curvature of the planet on their own power. Their vision of turning sedentary Americans into a nation of fervent walkers led to the creation of the EverWalk program. In 2016, the inaugural Epic Walk spanned 134 miles over seven days on a route through southern California’s coastal beach communities and cities, from Los Angeles to San Diego. The following year, walkers traveled along the idyllic, lighthouse-lined New England coast, from Boston to Maine’s Cape Elizabeth. In August 2018, a 134-mile route through the evergreens of the Pacific Northwest from the Canadian border along the Puget Sound to Seattle was the most successful yet. For many participants of the Epic Walk, crossing the ending Achieve Line after seven consecutive days of walking 16 to 22 miles brought tears of joy at their accomplishment. TEAM > INDIVIDUAL An alumnus of World T.E.A.M.’s 1998 Vietnam Challenge and a past director, in 2017, Diana contacted the organization with a suggestion to join forces. Becoming a part of World T.E.A.M. and its inclusive sports programs, EverWalk’s connection brought together two teams with a common goal of creating exceptional athletic programs that empower athletes and expand understanding and teamwork. EverWalk’s Ambassador program helps expand its reach to athletes across America. 24 local Ambassadors lead EverWalks the first Saturday of each month. Walks from St. Louis to Naples, Florida, to South Orange, New Jersey, to Lafayette, Colorado, and beyond build a greater national community. In April 2018, EverWalk launched its first annual Service Walk. Participants gratefully walked with Diana in the Florida Keys, where she spent four years training at Key West for her incomparable swim from Cuba. Participants began each day with an early morning ten-mile walk. Walks included an opportunity to swim alongside Diana at Smathers Beach on the south side of Key West. This beach was the ultimate point of triumph for Diana, as it is where she came ashore following her successful crossing from Cuba. In the afternoons, the Service Walk team assisted Habitat for Humanity in Big Pine Key rebuilding homes devastated in 2017’s Hurricane Irma. This was a rewarding experience for all. EverWalk continues to build a growing national walking community. Online, the latest in walking research is available for review, and walkers are invited to log their personal miles. EverWalk’s leadership is currently developing incentives for miles logged. Joining together with World T.E.A.M. was an easy decision for Diana. “I have long been a monster fan,” said Diana. “Some of the grand adventures of my life came via World T.E.A.M., including our ride of the length of the Ho Chi Minh Trail in Vietnam, with 100 American and Viet Cong vets. Bonnie and I, and all of us here at EverWalk, burst with pride to associate ourselves with the inspiring work done at World T.E.A.M. As we say: ONWARD!” 19