Thursday, August 24, 2006

What would you sacrifice?

I have to say that I lead a pretty lucky life. I have good health. Those around me also have good health. I have no reason to complain about my state of being. I have a job that pays me well. My kids frustrate the hell out of me, but they are teenagers. I have a loving wife who supports me and I support her; mentally, emotionally, physically.

I try to do the "right" thing and support those less fortunate than I. The fundraising for my Ironman was my first foray into that type of thing. When you know someone personally who is dealing with a serious illness the motivation behind the fundraising increases dramatically. So my Ironman charity was Komen foundation for breast cancer. It started with two friends and it quickly spread to include others who were directly making contributions to support family or friends.

So today I hear news of another friend in need. At the Y pool I swim at, TriSaraTops swims there also, you get to know the people around you. Dave the lifeguard is a diabetic. Ruth, noodle lady, had some lymph nodes removed. I met a lady earlier in the week who says she has to give up triathlon, running specifically, because she has severe arthritis in her one knee.

Jason is a newer swimmer at the Y whom I have gotten to know over the summer. He migrated over from a Y that closed earlier in the year. He became Sidestroke Jason because that was all he did, sidestroke. But he is a super nice guy and a solid athlete. He races motorcycles. I would call them super-bikes myself. Crotch rockets on a twisty-turny closed road course. He has been racing for the past several years and finally won the big race this past month. He deserved it because he worked hard for it, like we all do in triathlon or running or cycling, whatever your passion.

His victory was short lived. Soon after his race he learned that his 1 year old son has Leukemia. First I cannot imagine how devastating that must be to a parent. Like I said I have been very fortunate to not experience anything like that. What now? Jason appears to have tackled this adversity with great maturity. His son comes first. Jason has decided to leave the competitive world of motorcycle racing. He just can't afford to get injured, lose time from work, fall short on money, possibly kill himself. His son desperately needs him right now.

WOW. To leave something that you have worked so hard for. At the top of his racing career. But I commend his decision. I know that if I was faced with the same decision I would do that also. I know that if a major life altering situation arose during my Ironman training I would have stopped as well.

Yet the figurative death of a motorcycle racer has opened the door for the birth of a triathlete. Yes, Jason has always wanted to try-a-tri and is going to give it a shot. He doesn't have all the equipment yet, mainly a bicycle, but he is looking to start improving his swim and change to freestyle swimming, no more side-stroking. I'm going to help him best I can. I have already given him some pointers in the pool and I'll make up some workouts for him.

Next year I will push to raise funds for Leukemia & Lymphoma like TriSaraTops is doing for her Ironman MOO. So for now I contribute to her fundraising, and encourage you to do the same. If you can't contribute to her charity, or have already made contributions or are volunteering somewhere..........what I'm trying to say is there are many ways to help those less fortunate. Do what feels right for you. Make a difference. Don't sacrifice the gift.

Game on.

7 comments:

E-Speed said...

Great Post Eric. I'll be sending some good vibes Jasons way. Already sent the funds! ;)

It doesn't feel the same now racing without a charity. I am hoping LLS will let me fundraise for JFK.

Jodi said...

Very sad story. However because of people like you and Sara and the many TNTers, childhood Leukemia has become a battle that we can win. It is probably the biggest success story in cancer chemotherapy. I wish Jason's son all the best. Keep us posted on how he is doing.

(I've sent some funds Sara's way- fantastic charity!)

Cliff said...

Eric...

Jason is a great example to follow..plus now he is interset in tri...excellent.

I am doing LP next year...ideas not concrete right now.but i am thinkin raising money as well...since i am a cancer survivor...will be relate to fighting cancer...

TriSaraTops said...

Wow-I think I remember Jason...sending good thoughts and prayers his way for his son!

Thanks for the link--and the donation! Good people like you are awesome.

Papa Louie said...

Thanks for sharing this story and reminding us of the gift we have in health and that we can offer back to those in need.

Lana said...

Thanks for the reminder Eric. And for all you do to make the world a better place.

trifrog said...

Very inspirational; making me think about a couple ideas I've been bouncing around for some time to help the less fortunate.

The money is the easy way for me to help; I'm challenged to act on my ideas with my time, something that would actually be a sacrifice to me.

Thanks for the encouragement...