In just a few weeks, the family and I will be moving to the Jackson, MS area, where I will start working at Jackson State University. As the typical triathlete, I had to check what races were within driving distance,
and since I was looking for an Ironman for the end of the season, Panama City Beach was just calling me. Of course, I never anticipated that the race would fill up in a heart beat. I never even got close to
being able to sign up. Within seconds, the site was on hold, and that was it. I thought ‘Ni modo’ (that’s when you’ve lived in El Paso for a while) I will race somewhere else. Beach to Battleship maybe.
Then a friend of mine suggested: how about racing for a cause? Actually, despite having been in the sport since 1993 (when you could sign up for an Ironman pretty much at anytime), I didn’t know this was possible.
It happens that Ironman Florida partners with The Children’s Tumor Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to finding effective treatments for neurofibromatosis, and helping children affected by the disease, along with their families. Racing for something more than just trying to see whether you can finish, how fast you can go, how many in your age group you can beat, or whether you can qualify for Kona. This
suddenly sounded far more exciting and worthy than doing an Ironman for selfish reasons. Not long ago, we lost a great guy to cancer. He was barely 32, and I used to be his babysitter. One year of battle against cancer.
One year of hope. One year of treatments, successes, and failures. I wasn’t there to see him, but talked with his mom on a regular basis. He was a very fine young man. And frankly, it’s way too young to go.
Therefore, I have decided to sign up for the race through its charity partner and raise $5,000 by September 1, 2014. Although some of my work is in cancer research, I have zero experience with fundraising. But then most patients
have zero experience dealing with cancer, and they have no choice. They have to do it. A concern I had initially was how much of the money raised actually goes towards helping the children and their families. A quick
Internet search showed that the Children’s Tumor Foundation is actually one of the best charities to give to. According to Charity Navigator, the Children’s Tumor Foundation scores a near 64 out of 70 overall rating (for FY 2012), and nearly 80% of its budget is spent on the programs and services it delivers, versus paying for administrative costs of all sorts.
When training gets a bit hard, when racing gets a bit hard, I will surely have a different perspective on how hard it really is. After all, I am healthy and do this because I want to. When it hurts, it’s not real pain, more
like discomfort. Besides, the discomfort can be adjusted easily. Just slow down a bit. The mental gives up a tad? Get some sugar in, and it comes back. The children and their families don’t have these options. They have to deal with the
physical and mental pain. Research will alleviate physical pain. Support will alleviate mental pain. But unlike Ironman and its selfish quest, they’re in for a real fight. And we can help them.
If you decide that you would like to support (no amount is too small), please go to my CTF page: DONATIONS