Articles: Press Release
Hundreds Attend Fundraiser for Olympian Darren Chiacchia
Equestrian Aid Foundation Continues to Raise Funds
Equestrian Sports Promotions
Union, NJ--Hundreds of people attended a fundraiser last week in
Tallahassee, Florida for critically injured Olympic event rider Darren
Chiacchia. Well-wishers not only raised funds, but gave much needed
support to Darren's family who flew in from Buffalo, NY for the event
that featured a video tribute, silent auction and a musical freestyle
performed by Robert Dover on Chiacchia's Pan American Games gold medal
partner Windfall. In addition to the incredible fundraiser orchestrated
by Carol Dover at her WC Dover Farm, more than 400 contributions have
been made to the emergency fund designated for Chiacchia at the
Equestrian Aid Foundation (EAF).
"As a community, we are taking care of our own during a time of need,"
explains EAF President R. Scot Evans. "The outpouring of donations and
well-wishes demonstrates the generosity of the equestrian community and
shows the necessity for an organization like the EAF." All of the
donations received by the EAF on Chiacchia's behalf go directly to him.
Evans continues, "The EAF works not only to distribute funds for
medical expenses, but also living expenses, which is absolutely
critical during a crisis such as this. During a tragic or life changing
event, people with passion truly come together and make a difference."
One of those passionate people, Carol Dover, President and CEO of the
Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, revealed what can be
accomplished with energy and enthusiasm for a heartfelt project. In no
time at all, Dover devised a fundraiser that included state senators,
equestrians from around the country and local business people.
Evans and the EAF team were impressed with the support of the local,
non-horsey community. "They wanted to help since this tragedy occurred
in their community and they know how important [the Red Hills Horse
Trials] are to their community," he said.
Carol Dover, a longtime friend of Chiacchia's, has been involved in
numerous fundraisers in her career, but felt that this event was
incredibly special. "I'm not sure I've been involved in any fundraising
event that has made more of imprint on my life than this one has," she
recalls. "We had people from as far away as California, hunter/jumper,
dressage and even reining folks, that came together for Darren."
EAF Director of Grant Recipients Janise Gray was humbled by the
support. "I'm overwhelmed by the responses and contributions for
Darren," she said. The Pan American Games gold medalist was injured
cross-country on Saturday, March 15, 2008 at the Red Hills Horse
Trials. After several weeks in the intensive care unit at a Florida
hospital, Chiacchia was moved to a rehabilitation center near his home
in Buffalo. Not only has Darren been a tremendous athlete, he has also
been a member of the Board of Governors of the Equestrian Aid
Foundation for several years and serves on the Ambassador Committee.
His great energy and ideas have been of tremendous value to the EAF and
equestrian sports in general.
Six-time Olympian and EAF Chairman Emeritus Robert Dover says, "Darren
is battling valiantly with the amazing support of his family and all
who love him. While we hope the worst is over, this fight has just
begun! Darren and his family have a very long road ahead of them that
will surely see many ups and downs. Through this fundraiser and the
donations at the EAF, we can all show our love and support by reducing
one of the greatest points of stress they are encountering--the huge
financial burden. Our equestrian community is full of generous,
wonderful people. With this knowledge and Darren's spirit, anything is
You can make donations to Darren on a secure link on the EAF website,
www.equestrianaidfoundation.org, or send checks and well wishes to
EQUESTRIAN AID FOUNDATION, c/o Janise Gray, 228 Phillips Terrace,
Union, NJ 07083. Please indicate Darren's name in the memo section of
your check. The EAF will forward all well wishes to Darren and his
family. In addition to making donations for Darren, you can join the
Ride for Hope through a variety of membership options. This is a simple
way to help provide assistance to other equestrians in need as well as
to support the mission of the organization.
The EAF will post updates online as they become available. You may also
go to Darren's website, www.eventrider.com and to the United States
Eventing Association's website at www.useventing.com for updates.
Thank you for you support. Please keep Darren and his family in your
thoughts and prayers.
About the Equestrian Aid Foundation
The Equestrian Aid Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization.
Its mission is to build a membership-based organization to assist
everyone in the equestrian world suffering from life threatening
illness, catastrophic accidents or injuries by providing direct
financial support for their medical or other basic needs.