50 years
Abilities United supports children and adults with disabilities, their families and the community, and champions a culture in which all members of society are included and appreciated for their distinctive contributions.


Abilities United Aquathon

Abilities United Aquathon 

Over $120,000 raised in 2013! Many thanks to the swimmers, donors, and volunteers who made this possible!  See who raised the most money and swam the fastest!!

Save the date in 2014!

Sunday, September 7, 2014
noon - 4 pm

West Valley College
14000 Fruitvale Avenue
Saratoga, CA 95070

(650) 618-3331 or email

Now in its 38th year, the Aquathon is a great community and team building event that benefits Abilities United.  Approximately 500 swimmers, volunteers, and supporters participate in the event.  

Swimmers of all abilities form teams that swim in continuous 30-minute relays to raise money for Abilities United services.  Participating companies are encouraged to enter more than one team and competitive heats are available.  Funds raised include a $20 registration fee per person.

To enjoy a fun-filled day of competition for a good cause, call (650) 618-3331, or email or register online.  


Abilities United Authors Luncheon

Save the date in 2014!

Please join us at one of the most important literary events in Northern California.

Saturday, November 1, 2014
10:30 am - 3 pm
Crowne Plaza Cabana Hotel - Palo Alto

The luncheon will feature four acclaimed authors (Authors 2013) who will discuss their books, share stories about their writing experiences, and offer insight into their inspiration. Since it began in 1991, each year the Abilities United Authors Luncheon has drawn more than 650 guests who have been entertained by some of the world's most renowned authors.

Event schedule

10:30 am-11:45 am  book sales, author signing, art silent auction
11:30  ballroom seating opens
12:00  luncheon
12:45  Abilities United presentation
1:00  fund-a-future
1:15  author presentations
2:15-3:00 pm  book sales, signing, and art silent auction continue

Sponsorship tables of 10 provide you with preferred seating and promotional benefits at the following levels:

  • Award Winner ($20,000+)
  • Best Seller ($10,000)
  • First Edition ($5,000)
  • Choice Chapter ($3,000)

If you have any questions or would like to purchase seats or sponsor the Authors Luncheon, please call (650) 618-3330 or email.

Book sales benefit Abilities United and are managed by Books Inc.

Abilities United also benefits from any purchase you make through this link



2013 Authors


  Katherine Applegate


  Rick Atkinson


  Alice Hoffman

  Sara Paretsky


Sponsors of the 2013 Authors Luncheon

 "Award Winners" Sponsors ($20,000)  

Anonymous Foundation

"Best Seller" Sponsors ($10,000)            

El Camino Hospital
Laurie T. Jarrett

Chris Kenrick
Carol and Mike Shealy
Anonymous Friends

"First Edition" Sponsors ($5,000)

Carrie Anderson
Tom and Wallace Brunner

Ellen and Tom Ehrlich
Rachel and Simon Segars
Susan and Sanjay Vaswani
Mary Weersing
Elizabeth Wolf 
Bill and Brenda Younger

"Choice Chapter" Sponsors ($3,000)

Marcie and Chet Brown
Nancy Drapkin

Heidi M. Feldman, M.D.
Wende and Tom Hutton
Ellen Jones
Manatt, Phelps and Phillips, LLP
Karen Moore and Peter Watkins 
Morrison and Foerster Foundation
Antje and Paul Newhagan

Judith and David Richardson
Thoits Insurance/NFP
Anne Vitullo
Wilson Sonsini, Goodrich and Rosati Foundation

Media Sponsor

ABC 7 logo

Book Sales Sponsor


Accomodations Sponsor

Crowne Plaza logo

Print Sponsor

Prodigy Press logo 2010

Art Showcase Sponsor


Wine Sponsors

Susan and Jeff Cashen
Bridget and Cully Davis
Stacey Keare and John Hodge
Jax Vineyards
Gina and Mike Rayfield
Lisa and Mark Wan

Travel Arrangements 

Ladera Travel


2013 Author Information and Bios


Katherine Applegate

Buy her children's books at Books Inc.

The One and Only Ivan, The Buffalo Storm, Home of the Brave


KATHERINE APPLEGATE's many books include the Roscoe Riley Rules chapter book series, a picture book entitled The Buffalo Storm, and the award-winning novel, Home of the Brave. With her husband, Michael Grant, she wrote the hugely popular series Animorphs, which has sold more than 35 million copies worldwide.

Katherine’s most recent novel for children, The One and Only Ivan, was the recipient of the 2013 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to Children’s Literature.

Katherine was inspired to write The One and Only Ivan after reading about the true story of a captive gorilla known as Ivan, the "Shopping Mall Gorilla." The real Ivan lived alone in a tiny cage for twenty-seven years at a shopping mall before being moved to Zoo Atlanta after a public outcry. He was a beloved celebrity at the zoo, which houses the nation's largest collection of western lowland gorillas, and was well known for his paintings, which he "signed" with a thumb-print.

Katherine lives in California with her husband and two children.


Rick Atkinson

Buy his Liberation Trilogy and other books at Books Inc.

The Guns at Last Light: The War in Europe, 1944-1945, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943


RICK ATKINSON recently completed The Guns at Last Light: The War in Europe, 1944-1945, the final volume of his Liberation Trilogy, a narrative history of the U.S. military’s role in the liberation of Europe in World War II. The first volume, An Army at Dawn: The War in North Africa, 1942-1943, received the Pulitzer Prize and was acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as “the best World War II battle narrative since Cornelius Ryan’s classics, The Longest Day and A Bridge Too Far.” The second volume, The Day of Battle: The War in Sicily and Italy, 1943-1944, drew praise from the New York Times as “a triumph of narrative history, elegantly written…and rooted in the sight and sounds of battle.”The Guns at Last Light, covering the last year of the European war, from Normandy to Berlin, will be published in May 2013. Atkinson is the bestselling author of three other works of narrative military history, including The Long Gray Line, In the Company of Soldiers, and Crusade. He also was the lead essayist in Where Valor Rests: Arlington National Cemetery, published by National Geographic. He was a reporter, foreign correspondent, war correspondent, and senior editor at The Washington Post for more than twenty years. His many awards include Pulitzer Prizes for journalism and history, the George Polk Award, and the Pritzker Military Library Literature Award for Lifetime Achievement in Military Writing. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Born in Munich, Germany, Atkinson is the son of a U.S. Army officer and grew up on military posts. He holds a master of arts degree in English literature from the University of Chicago. He and his wife, Dr. Jane C. Atkinson, a researcher and clinician at the National Institutes of Health, live in the District of Columbia. They have two grown children. 


Alice Hoffman

Buy her novels at Books Inc.

Survival Lessons

ALICE HOFFMAN has published twenty-one novels, three books of short fiction, and eight books for children and young adults. Her books have been published in more than twenty translations and more than one hundred foreign editions. Her novels, many of which have been New York Times bestsellers, have received mention as notable books of the year by the New York Times,Entertainment Weekly, the Los Angeles TimesLibrary Journal, and People Magazine. Alice’s advance from Survival Lessons will be donated to the Hoffman Breast Center at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

 Sara Paretsky

Buy her books at Books Inc.

Indemnity Only, Blacklist, Writing in an Age of Silence, Ghost Country

Before there was Lisbeth Salander or Stephanie Plum, there was V I Warshawski. Sara Paretsky revolutionized the mystery world in 1982 when she introduced V I in Indemnity Only. By creating a believable investigator with the grit and the smarts to tackle problems on the mean streets, Paretsky challenged a genre in which women typically were either vamps or victims. Hailed by critics and readers, Indemnity Only was followed by fifteen more best-selling Warshawski novels.  The New York Times writes that Paretsky “always makes the top of the list when people talk about female operatives,” while Publishers Weekly says, “Among today’s PIs, nobody comes close to Warshawski.”

Called “passionate” and “electrifying,” V.I. reflects her creator’s own passion for social justice. As a contributor to the New York Times and the Guardian newspapers, and a speaker at such venues as the Library of Congress and Oxford University, Paretsky is an impassioned advocate for those on society’s margins.  After chairing the school’s first Commission on the Status of Women as a Kansas undergraduate, Paretsky worked as a community organizer on Chicago’s South Side during the turbulent race riots of 1966.  More recently, Paretsky served with then-state senator Obama on the board of Thresholds, which serves Chicago’s mentally ill homeless.  She has mentored teens in Chicago’s most troubled schools, and works closely with literacy and reproductive rights groups.

Not only has Paretsky’s own work broken barriers, she has also helped open doors for other women. In 1986 she created Sisters in Crime, a worldwide organization to support women crime writers, which earned her Ms. Magazine’s 1987 Woman of the Year award. More accolades followed: the British Crime Writers awarded her the Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement;  Blacklist won the Gold Dagger from the British Crime Writers for best novel of 2004, and she has received the honorary degreee of Doctor of Letters from several different universities.  The actress Kathleen Turner played V.I. Warshawski in the movie of that name and Paretsky’s work is celebrated in Pamela Beere Briggs’s documentary, Women of Mystery.  Today Sara Paretsky’s books are published in 30 countries.

She detailed her journey from Kansas farm-girl to New York Times bestseller in her 2007 memoir, Writing in an Age of Silence, which was a National Book Critics Circle Award finalist. In addition, Paretsky has written two highly-acclaimed stand-alone novels, Ghost Country, used in many seminary classrooms, and Bleeding Kansas, set in the part of rural Kansas where Paretsky grew up.  She has published a collection of her own short stories, and edited four other anthologies, including, most recently, Sisters on the Case.

Like her fictional detective, Paretsky lives and dies with the Cubs, runs Chicago’s lakefront with her golden retriever, and loves to sing, taking part in community musicals.  Paretsky lives on Chicago’s south side with her husband, a member of the University of Chicago’s Fermi Institute. 

If you have any questions or would like to purchase seats or sponsor the Authors Luncheon, please call (650) 618-3330 oremail

Back to Authors Luncheon


Art Exhibits

February 2014

Family Chiropractic Center
949 Sherwood Avenue
Los Altos, CA 94022

Peets Coffee & Tea
2600 Broadway Avenue
Redwood City, CA 

Milestones Preschool art exhibit
Palo Alto Children's Library
1276 Harriet Street
Palo Alto, CA 
(650) 329-2134






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