My Dad was always my Ironman when I was growing up. In 2004, my dad had a persistent cough. He went to the doctor a few times and was finally diagnosed with pneumonia. A year went by and the cough went away for awhile. When it returned, my dad went back to the doctor. He was diagnosed with Stage IV lung cancer. I was 17 at the time.
After he was diagnosed, my Dad signed up for Heather Saler’s Lung Cancer Walk in Pennsauken, NJ, which eventually became Breathe Deep South Jersey. My dad didn’t do the full walk, but he was part of the survivor ceremony. I went with him and that was how we found out about LUNGevity and decided to start fundraising.
My dad passed away in 2006, less than a year after he was diagnosed, but he taught me so much during that time. I saw how strong he was during his battle. He never gave up and gave it everything he had.
My dad was a photographer. When he passed away in February 2006, my girlfriend (who is now my wife) and I put together a show with all of his photos at a local restaurant. People could come just to see the photos or they could buy them to help raise funds for LUNGevity. The second year, people who were impacted by cancer, either themselves or a loved one, donated artwork for the show.
My dad was also a runner. He ran several marathons. I ran my first marathon, the New York City Marathon, in 2016. I wanted to strive for something more challenging so I decided to do the Ironman Lake Placid for Team LUNGevity. Lake Placid is the longest running Ironman event in North America and this is 20th Anniversary year, so it will be a great event. It consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run.
Doing an Ironman is going to be the toughest thing I ever attempt. I wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 a.m. and either swim, bike, or run for about an hour, then go to work, come home, and train again in the evening. I’ll be training for about seven months total. I’ll be posting my Ironman journey throughout my training all year long on Facebook. I’ll also post stories of my Dad and news from LUNGevity. And hopefully when I finish that Ironman, I will be wearing something LUNGevity.
If anything is going to inspire me to complete this Ironman, it is my Dad. The least I can do is try to raise money for lung cancer research in his name. Every dollar counts and every life matters. I hope that my fundraising efforts will make a difference in the fight against lung cancer. Maybe it is the dollar that helps find the cure, maybe it helps give someone affected by this disease sometime of motivation or maybe it just makes people more aware of lung cancer.