Office of Institutional Advancement

Eagles Autism Challenge

Eagles Autism Challenge
Team Jefferson

The sun didn’t shine. It was too wet to play. But Team Jefferson rode, ran, and walked for autism on that cold, wet day.

More than 300 members of Team Jefferson turned out despite monsoon-like conditions on May 19 for the inaugural Eagles Autism Challenge presented by Lincoln Financial Group.

The Eagles announced the event last fall as a way to galvanize support and foster collaborations for innovative autism research and programs at Jefferson, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and Drexel University. The effort was a tremendous success, with the Eagles reporting that some 3,300 participants raised $2.3 million—and counting.

Jefferson president and CEO, and Team Jefferson co-captain, Dr. Stephen K. Klasko, who ran in the 5K race, tweeted, “Great moment as the Eagles challenged the city’s academic medical centers to transform how we all respond and help people and their families.” 

Jefferson came through strong, with full hearts, wet shoes, and top results in the challenge. Team Jefferson had the fourth best fundraising total, raising more $65,000. Co-captain and Jefferson benefactor Jamie Maguire placed first in the 30-mile bike race in a bravura performance in the rain. He wasn’t alone in the winners’ circle: Team Jefferson members Ted Koziara won the 50-mile bike race and Emily Nist was the 5K race women’s winner.

Runners and bikers, kids and parents, and walkers and strollers alike trundled over slick streets through sheets of rain in South Philadelphia, then snaked through the iconic tunnels of Lincoln Financial Field, a marching band and cheerleaders cheering them along the way, until finally emerging on the perfectly groomed NorthBridge Bermudagrass of the Eagles’ home turf. The Eagles’ Swoop and Jefferson’s Phil the Ram were there to congratulate everyone, and activity tents lined the field. Before the last person crossed the line, the rain stopped and the sky started to break. It was a great day.

Thank you to the many volunteers, cyclists, runners, walkers, and staff who came out, despite the rain, to make the Eagles Autism Challenge a success. You have made Jefferson proud, and we cannot thank you enough for it!

Thank you to the many volunteers, cyclists, runners, walkers, and staff who came out, despite the rain, to make the Eagles Autism Challenge a success. You have made Jefferson proud, and we cannot thank you enough for it!

  • Team Jefferson members won 3 out of the 4 races
    • 50-mile Race Winner: Ted Koziara
    • 30-mile Race Winner: Jamie Maguire, Team Jefferson Co-Captain
    • 5K Race Women’s Winner: Emily Nist
  • We had more than 300 Jefferson recruits
  • Jefferson came in No. 4 in fundraising totals, raising over $70,0000

Jefferson Autism Programmatic Research: Improving Lives

Jefferson Autism Programmatic Research Team

Jefferson researchers are working together to help those living with autism lead productive and meaningful lives.  At Jefferson, Drs. Schaaf, Dalva, Merry and Ross are leading programs of research on the neurobiological basis of autism that will help develop targeted interventions to address both the causes and symptoms of autism. Jefferson’s team is translating research into interventions to improve function and quality of life. The unique Jefferson Autism Programmatic Research Program spans research in clinical interventions, synapse and molecular biology, and genetic models of autism and translates these findings into solutions that help children and families with autism participate fully in their everyday activities. Central to this research mission is the integrated training of students to be the next generation of autism researchers and clinicians. Together, the Jefferson team is advancing autism research by discovering the causes and treatment for autism.

Questions? View the FAQ page, or contact Julia Gelman-Sheehan at CommunityFundraising@jefferson.edu or 215-955-0977.