Thursday, 08 July 2021 15:05

Above & Beyond Challenge is Back! Hike the Adirondacks

By Jaynie Ellis | Sports
Photo by Laura Greenaway. Photo by Laura Greenaway.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Join the Saratoga Hospital Foundation and explore the beauty of the Adirondacks through the Above & Beyond Challenge, presented by Pacira BioSciences, Inc. 

The Above & Beyond Challenge is a summer-long hiking program that invites individuals and businesses to raise funds in support of the Addiction Medicine Program at the Saratoga Community Health Center. 

Teams can come in all sizes and members can be of all different skill levels – it only takes two people to get started. Sponsor tiers are based on team size, and all funds generated go to the Addiction Medicine Program. Individual cost is $150.00, and sponsor tiers range from $250.00 for a team of 2 to $5,000.00 for a team of 20. Registration is continuous from June to September of this year, allowing hikers to pick their own date and hike at their convenience. Challenge organizers encourage that you hike one of the Adirondack 46er, Lake George 12ster, or Saranac 6er peaks in the Adirondacks, but want hikers to ultimately pick a peak they have previously hiked and/or familiar with the terrain. 

“The beauty of it is that they can pick any day, time, and peak,” said Laura Greenaway, Manager of Special Events for the Saratoga Hospital Foundation. “It is an independent initiative.” 

The Challenge wants participants to go social as well. Hikers will be fitted with an Above & Beyond shirt and teams will receive a banner to take a picture with at the summit. Group pictures should be shared to Facebook and Instagram using #aboveandbeyond2021, and the Saratoga Hospital Foundation will repost. 

“There is strong, research-based evidence that correlates hiking or other outdoor activity with more successful addiction program outcomes,” states the Mission of the Addiction Medicine Program. 

Established in 2018 by former Adirondack Trust President and CEO, Stephan von Schenk, the Challenge has raised $153,000 to date. Joining as an individual promotes the healthy body, healthy mind mission just as much, but joining as team can promote employee health, camaraderie, and more. The Challenge’s webpage states that simply put it is “a team building experience with a mission that impacts the local community.”

Launched in March of 2017, the Addiction Medicine Program is now fully integrated in the Saratoga Community Health Center. With its collaborative physical and mental approach to health, the impact of the program in 2020 was serving over 604 new patients through over 5,700 visits – no patient is turned away. 

“Addiction medicine is growing, especially with the pandemic we all went through,” said Greenaway. “The Challenge is a great way to help support the program.” 

Teams can register at www.saratogahospital.org/above-and-beyond-challenge.

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