Jake Chalfin of Unionville, PA was paralyzed from the chest down in a fall at the Blue Ridge Fall Races in Berryville, Va in September. The Jake Chalfin Beneficiary trust has been established to help with all of the expenses associated with his injury. Though he is determined to walk, Jake's current condition has left him with a multitude of hurdles both physical and financial.
Chasin' for Chalfin is a year long fund raising campaign started by Jakeís friends, with a goal of raising $1 million. The kick off fundraising event, Stealiní the Start, is set for Dec. 4 at The Stone Barn in Unionville, Pa. This event will include cocktails, dinner, a silent and live auction, as well as music and dancing provided by "Jody's Band."
Extremely energetic, strong-willed, goal-oriented, enthusiastic, competitive and fun-loving, Jake is a loyal friend, loving son and brother, passionate environmentalist, and a fiercely determined 32-year-old man who has vowed to take on the challenge of walking againóno matter how long it takes.
Jake began riding at age 7 and was a member of Pickering Hunt Pony Club, where he became involved in eventing. He continued eventing throughout high school and at Colorado State University, where he earned a degree in Equine Science. In 2005 he became intrigued by steeplechasing and by 2007 he was riding under rules. In 2008, Jake had a hard-earned fourth place in the famed Maryland Hunt Cup. With 17 starts that year, he won $14,300 in total purses. In 2009, Jake had 23 starts, earning $18,550 in total purses. This year, Jake won second place at the Benjamin H. Murray Memorial at the Grand National and was in the money four times, earning $7,150. During his short career, Jake had the honor to ride for some of steeplechasing's best trainers and owners. He earned 20 victories on the flat and over jumps on the NSA circuit and accumulated 21 seconds and 17 thirds. He also won numerous victories on the point-to-point circuit.
Jake began skiing at a young age and as a student in Colorado, he was able to take his passion for skiing to a whole new level. He traveled around the state, searching for the most challenging runs and trying to time the weather to get perfect powder days. To Jake, waist-deep powder on severely steep slopes is the recipe for a perfect day of skiing.
Jake worked for the past eight years as sales and marketing director for Laurel Valley Soils in Avondale, Pa., a position in keeping with his commitment to environmental stewardship. He is looking forward to returning to work and reconnecting with his clients and colleagues as soon as possible.
Following surgery at Johns Hopkins, Jake spent five days in intensive care and then six days on a regular floor. He was then transferred to Magee Rehabilitation Hospital in Philadelphia, one of the nationís leading rehabilitation programs for people with spinal cord injuries. Jake is working hard every day, undergoing intensive physical and occupational therapy. He is making progress, but has a long, hard road ahead of him.
As it looks now, the doctors expect Jake to remain at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital until sometime in December, when he will begin out-patient therapy.
Jake has always pushed the limits, living by the mantra "Work hard. Play hard." He firmly believes in living life deliberately, with passion and enthusiasm for everything he does. He also has an incredibly strong sense of responsibility to his local community and the environment. That's why he chose a career in an environmentally sustainable field and why he has been actively involved in land conservation efforts and community recycling programs.
All the information for "Stealin' the Start" as well as Chasin' for Chalfin is at www.chasinforchalfin.com, or like Chasiní For Chalfin on facebook.