T he interest in finishing a full Ironman in his early 60s started as a pipe dream. I don’t think anyone close to him doubted that he was serious about pursuing it someday. This is a man that has developed a reputation as a true Everyday Athlete by his work ethic and training alone. However, he’s chosen not to retire yet. He’s working full-time, has 100 grandchildren to visit or help with (…slight exaggeration, 9 actually, feels like more) and overall, a busy life that impacts his time to train for such an event.
I’ve referenced my father in the past, on the podcast and our Instagram page. He’s inspired aspects of what we’ve been working on with Athleticus. So you may already know or assume, that committing to this event wasn’t something he hastily decided to do. But the idea of doing a full Ironman was something he was back and forth with for some time.
As our parents get older, we naturally may worry about them more. At my fathers age, my siblings and I worry he may take on more than he should. If he’s really considering Mont Tremblant, we’re thinking, he’s going to need to be highly motivated and train hard. Well, that extra motivation came, but not in the way any one of us wanted.
While he started to get serious about pursuing this event, my amazing Aunt Barbara
O’Dea was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor, Glioblastoma. She has a husband, my Uncle Dan, two sons, a daughter, and son-in-law. Uncle Dan is no stranger to the severity of a diagnosis like this, as he spent his career as a cardiac surgeon in NY. And, unfortunately, it’s not that foreign to me as well. My own experience witnessing a Glioblastoma diagnosis had a profound impact on my life in my late teens and early 20s. I’ve hoped for a long time that we could make significant progress toward finding a cure. There’s no sugar coating it, a malignant brain tumor is devastating and extremely difficult for the ones diagnosed and their immediate families.
As my dad put it on his fundraising page, his endurance pursuit, the Ironman event itself, pales in comparison to the strength, courage and fight that my Aunt Barbara exhibits every single day. And I’d add, it doesn’t compare to the emotional toll this diagnosis can take on the immediate family unit.
Every training session for dad leading up to this event, has now had more meaning. For each mile on race day there’s now that added motivation to push through the pain. He’ll be thinking about Aunt Barbara, every stroke, every peddle, every step.
We wish my dad luck this Sunday and hope that you will consider contributing to the fundraiser in Barbaras name, to help fight for a cure. Link included below.
Thank you for taking the time to read this one 👍.
To view the fundraising page please click the link here: Battle With Barb