My life has been greatly influenced by two serious stroke incidents over the past few years.
In 2013, my paternal grandfather, who was 80 years old, suffered a stroke while he was asleep at home. Thanks to my grandmother, he was helped promptly, but not fast enough. To this day he suffers from hemiplegia, is tied to a wheelchair, and is taken care of by my grandmother. He was also helped by my father until, in summer of 2014, my father also suffered a stroke. At the time he had been alone with my grandfather, assisting him to the washroom. When my father tried to lift my grandfather from his wheelchair, the fatal stroke occurred. They fell together to the ground, leaving my grandfather lying next to his dying son: weary, weak, hypothermic and confused, and unable to call for help. It took almost 10 hours for them to be found by my step-mother upon her return from work.
My father, who led a very healthy lifestyle, sadly lived only to be 59 years old. He was passionate about the sport of triathlon, and introduced me to it at age 14. We raced many triathlons together and our lifelong dream was to compete in Hawaii together. As that is no longer possible, I am taking on this challenge in his memory. Not only do I plan on realizing a dream, but I am also planning to reach a fundraising goal in partnership with the Heart and Stoke Foundation, for research to help discover the correlation of stroke-incidence in endurance sport.
The Kona district in Hawaii is the birthplace of Ironman long-distance triathlon, and serves as the annual World Championship, bringing in thousands of international participants to race the world’s toughest course. The race consists of a 3.8km wild ocean swim, followed by a 180km bike ride across lava fields and desert-like wind-swept conditions, and ends with a 42km marathon run, all in the blistering, relentless heat. Participating in this event is the dream of almost every long-distance triathlete, but the qualification process for this race is extremely challenging. Candidates must compete in a qualifying Ironman event and place in the top 3 of one’s age group, in an increasingly competitive field.
My dream is to honour my father’s memory by competing in Kona, Hawaii in 2018. I am about to embark on a journey that will require hundreds of hours in a pool, on a bike, and on a running path; a journey that will require perseverance, self-discipline and dedication. With your support this journey can be made possible. Some of the money will help me offset my costs but At least 70% of the money I raise will go to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, and 100% of that money goes directly to support stroke research. At the end of the 2016 season I was able to donate $1200 to the Heart and Stroke Foundation. The goal for 2018 is to continue raising money and to invite corporate donors and sponsors to the journey. However it is with your personal support that my campaign can gain momentum with potential corporate donors, by proving that my friends and colleagues believe in me.
My journey to the Ironman Hawaii 2018 has 3 milestones:
2016 – I represented Canada in the Olympic distance World Championship in Cozumel, Mexico. I also competed in the Wasa Triathlon, finishing 4th overall and 1st in my age group, and came in 3rd at the BC Championships in Kelowna. By the end of the racing
2017 – I failed to qualify for the Half Ironman (70.3) distance World Championship in Chattanooga, Tennessee, instead I battled a self inflicted Achilles injury (see Wasa Triathlon blog post) and had my own run in with heart issues (see CDA blog post and 2017 season summary post) which made this journey even more important to me
2018 – I am back with a vengeance and new motivation now and aim to compete at the Ironman Hawaii long-distance World Championship in October.
Your support means more to me than words can say. Feel free to contact me with questions or if you want to join me for a workout 🙂