FAST Athletes

FAST Athletes CAN

FAST Athletes is a Cure Angelman Now (CAN) program uniting world-class athletes in the Angelman syndrome community competing in various athletic challenges. FAST Athletes are raising awareness for Angelman syndrome and highlighting the work FAST is doing to accelerate research for effective therapeutics for all individuals living with Angelman syndrome. FAST Athletes use their inspiration and outreach to raise funds through the CAN campaign to help FAST continue its mission. FAST Athletes are determined to make a change within the Angelman community, bring health and wellness to all parents and caregivers in the community, and empower them to believe in the impossible for themselves and their loved ones with Angelman syndrome.

FAST Athletes Workout Video

Rhian Adams and Amelia Beatty working out together
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Check out this fun workout video made by Rhian Adams and Amelia Beatty to help raise money for FAST’s CAN (Cure Angelman Now) campaign! Both women have a son with Angelman syndrome, both are FAST Athletes and both live in the Middle East. You can read more about Rhian and Amelia below.

Thank you to our community members who are finding unique, creative ways to fundraise for FAST!

Deanna McCurdy

Deanna McCurdy
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A former Division I cross country and track athlete, but not reaching her full potential until her late 30’s and 40’s, Deanna has spent most of her adult life chasing finish line goals and inspiring others through her love of running, cycling, outdoor adventuring, and the sport of triathlon. She and her husband/ training/adventuring parter, David, have 2 beautiful girls, Hailey (age 16) and Hayden Grace (age 14).

Deanna started her triathlon journey after her youngest daughter, Hayden, was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome in 2009 — Deanna’s “why” behind her drive in sport. Her passion to use her talents to help spread awareness and raise money to cure Angelman Syndrome has become something far greater than she ever imagined it would be. She founded Team Miles for Smiles, a fundraising running/ triathlon team for The Foundation for Angelman Syndrome Therapeutics (FAST) in 2010 and later her coaching business, Wings to Fly Racing, to help others overcome life’s challenges and strive for athletic goals they once thought impossible. Over the past 12 years, Miles for Smiles has raised over $150,000 for FAST, crossed countless finish lines, and changed lives with their inspirational message of believing with passion and purpose, anything is possible… including curing Angelman Syndrome.

Deanna has raced professionally as an off-road triathlete and mountain biker, is 3-time USA Triathlon OffRoad Triathlete of the Year, XTERRA age group World Champion, and was the Top American, placing 4th overall Amateur at the XTERRA World Championships in Maui in 2017 and 2018. She also won Overall Female at the XTERRA panAm/National Championships in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2nd Overall in 2021 (the year of the duathlon). In 2019, her top result racing in the Elite field was 2nd Overall at XTERRA Quebec. She has also competed in the Ironman 70.3 World Championships, Ironman Boulder, was 2nd overall female at the Snickers Marathon, and placed in the Top 5 Overall at ITU Cross Worlds in Penticton, Canada.

In August 2022, Deanna took on her biggest athletic challenge yet: competing in the Breck Epic, a 6-day mountain bike stage race that takes place every year in Breckenridge, Colorado. The race begins and ends at 10,000 feet elevation and over the course of 6 days, traverses over 240 miles of rocky singletrack trail and contains over 40,000 feet of climbing (and descending). For Deana, the race serves as a metaphor for raising a child with AS: from tough beginnings to grueling climbs, navigating technical descents only to face another steep climb… but with strength and perseverance, the daily mountains can be conquered and the finish line, which at one time seemed far and unattainable, grows closer and closer with every pedal stroke. Read more about Deanna racing in the Breck Epic here.

Rhian Adams

Rhian Adams
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I’m a Special Needs Mum, Camel rider and Advanced exercise specialist.

For almost two decades my focus has been creating a model that serves and improves the world we share. Recently awarded UAE Personal Trainer of the Year for 2018 and 2020 and silver in 2022 I have spent the last 17 years working with mothers, children, sports teams and members of the royal family on programs that enable people to lead happier, healthier lives.

I am actively involved in the Health and Fitness industry in the UAE and a proud ambassador of Reps and I Tutor a range of Fitness and CPD courses for Gold Award winning Fitness Provider Bodyhack.

I regularly publish health and wellness articles and am eagerly waiting on the publishing of my new book – beautiful bump to bulletproof body, due to be released this Summer 2022!

I am based in Dubai, originally from the UK and have competed in international sports competitions for bodybuilding in Australia, Iceland, Belgium, the UK and the UAE. I have also represented Wales my home country in Rugby and taken teams on trekking expeditions to Kilimanjaro.

16 months ago my son was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome, a rare genetic disease affecting 1 in 15,000 babies. When we received Samson’s diagnosis of ‘Angelman Syndrome’ I had never heard of it.

For something caused by chance on conception it could not sound any worse… severe developmental delay, intellectual disability, sleep disorders, inability to EVER talk-even a word, life debilitating seizures, suppressed immunity and swallowing issues. As you can imagine our life came to a halt, the diagnosis followed with a lot of grieving.

One year following diagnosis we have had 8 hospital stays (the longest being 28 days in intensive care for the whole of April 2021 where we nearly lost our beautiful son), hundreds if not thousands of seizures, a tube fitted into his stomach to consume water, a guessing game at his needs and many upon many nights with no sleep.

Its been a very difficult journey for myself, husband and daughter, but I know that this is part of my calling and purpose alongside my role as a fitness professional, I’m going to chose to step up to my calling Gods put on my life and have hope for Samson’s future, and ours as a family, believing there is no limit on Samson’s future abilities and doing our best to live a full and happy life.

My biggest achievement this year has been staying mentally and physically healthy for my family, my two children and for my clients, exercise and good nutrition choices are in a way therapy and empowering ways that help us all manage life trials and turmoil. if there’s one thing that the previous 12 months have taught us all, its that fitness extends so much more than the physical realm and maintenance of a bodily shape. It encompasses the mental, emotional + spiritual existence too which are all required to battle the many highs + lows of life, from, sickness, to the unknown, to spontaneous vacations to even surprise pregnancies! I have focused more on educating empowering and equipping my clients more than ever before and I am immensely proud of the enthusiasm and eagerness to become the best they can be in health and life.

I competed in the Spartan World Championships at the end of this year, I knew that with my training history, skills and what I had been through the last 12 months that I would successfully complete the 21k run over the highest sand dunes in the world, and I finished the race in 5 and a half hours to finish in 8th place in my category and have taken first place in regional spartans, alongside this I have been awarded Advanced Exercise Specialist Award and Silver Award for Personal Trainer of the Year.

My philosophy is that we can live and achieve our best life through active living and through moving, nourishing and believing.

Ollie Turton

Ollie Turton
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Hi I’m Ollie, I’m from the UK, living in Dubai with my wife and two children, Seren who is 4, Samson who is 2. 

I am actively involved in the Health and Fitness industry in the UAE, I’m a passionate golfer and a proud ambassador of Under Armour and Fitness Feedz.  My profession is a strength and conditioning coach and I work with top tier athletes. I have travelled all over the world to play and represent my country in Rugby having represented Wales, England, Great Britain and professional sports clubs in the UK.

Samson our son, was diagnosed with Angelman syndrome in 2020 after we discovered he was missing major milestones and so we started our mission of finding out what was missing it turns out to be a small gene off chromosome 15 and a diagnosis of Angelman syndrome. Our lives came to a halt on the day of diagnosis and to say it has been tough is an understatement.

After plenty of months of grieving and more than 8 admittances for hospital care last year we have reached a place of peace and happiness and feel so much joy in having Samson in my life.

We are passionately raising awareness and funds for the research FAST Is doing to find a cure for our children. I currently run the Crown Prince’s fitness facility and health club here in Dubai which puts me in a fortunate position to meet, greet and train VIPs, celebrities, and work with Top Tier athletes and sports stars, all of whom have shown support to FAST, my son and our life changing diagnosis and their signed memorabilia has helped raise an incredible amount through auctions and online raffles.

I think it is so important for us as FAST athletes to show that we can still achieve amazing things but also support FAST through our sport and athleticism by promoting the incredible work FAST is doing and spreading the news worldwide!

Dan Growden

Dan Growden
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I’ve spent the bulk of my life as a high performance athlete, both as a hockey player and a long track speed skater. In doing so I’ve learned many lessons along the way – how to persevere, follow a plan, be adaptable when plan gets derailed, and when to work hard vs. when to work smart. All of these lessons have almost acted as a grooming period, preparing me for the day when our little girl, Sawyer, was diagnosed with Angelman Syndrome. In an instant, our idea or vision of what our lives were going to be like with our kids changed, and we had to adapt and find a different path. FAST was the first foundation I came across that I felt a strong connection with. FAST is adaptable, determined, open-minded, forward-thinking, and fighting day in and day out for our kids. I’m honoured to be part of the FAST Athlete Ambassador group. It will give us all a great outlet to do what we love while supporting and raising awareness and funds as they accelerate research to bring effective therapeutics to all individuals living with Angelman syndrome.  

Main Goals in the next year:

  • Win Storm the Trent adventure race in September
  • Complete the 15/1965 Challenge
  • Push myself outside of my comfort zone through social media to raise awareness and money for FAST as they work to push the Angelman therapeutic pipeline forward


Read about Dan’s 15/1965 Bike Ride challenge here.