My friend Audrey's boyfriend, Kevin McGaw, has spent the past year training for the Ironman U.S. Championships on August 11th, 2012 in NYC as a member of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training.
Kevin lost his father to cancer shortly after his high school graduation. Over the past several months, I have received heartfelt and poignant emails from this man in his effort to reach his sponsorship goal of $8,900 - funds he is raising to help find cures and better treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. With a little over a month left before Ironman, Kevin is just short of his goal by $1,000.
I wanted to share some of his emails with you and it is my hope that you will donate, if even just a small amount, to this amazing cause. I apologize in advance, as I'm sure you will be crying by the end of this post.
Over 17 years ago, you picked a flight with a man named Joseph McGaw. He fought you valiantly, but in the end you won. Joe had a son who at times felt shortchanged by the loss of his father. As the boy grew into a man, he learned about his father's life and his death. He learned of his father's fight with you and vowed vengeance. Problem was, you are not a person - you are a ruthless monster. How does one fight such a thing?
As the years passed, the boy - now a man - found an organization that raises money specifically to fight you, to end you, and he didn't hesitate to join them.
I write you this letter, Cancer, because I am the son of Joseph McGaw. I am the boy who vowed vengeance and am now the man who has joined the fight against you. Through the support of friends and family, I will raise money, I will swim, I will bike and I will run miles to defeat you.
It's time for the world to be rid of you, Cancer, and in honor of my father, I'm going to do my part to make that happen.
Years ago I found this passage on a little plaque at my family's home in Huntington. I like to think it was something my father planned to give to his sons. In a way he did.
McGawYou got it from your father, it was all he had to give.
So it’s yours to use and cherish, for as long as you may live.
If you lose the watch he gave you, it can always be replaced.
But a black mark on your name, son, can never be erased
It was clean the day you took it and a worthy name to bear.
When he got it from his father, there was no dishonor there.
So make sure you guard it wisely, after all is said and done.
You will be glad the name is spotless, when you give it to your son.
I do not have my father, but I have his name. I honor that name by raising money to defeat the disease which took his life. I can't do this by myself. I need your help.
Please click on the below link to donate and learn more about my race to find a cure for blood cancers. http://pages.teamintraining.
Thanks for your time,
I thought I would do things a little differently this week. In honor of Mother’s Day this Sunday, I wanted to pay tribute to an amazing person…my Mom. Eileen Girardin-McGaw-Dietrich is one of the most extraordinary people I know.
She’s had to deal with more adversity than anyone I’ve ever met and she’s done so with determination, faith and an attitude you just don’t always find in people. Her father contracted polio when she was a teenager, her second oldest son Brian developed cerebral palsy shortly after he was born, her husband Joseph died of cancer after 27 years of marriage, and did I mention she is the mother of four boys? So what does she do? Does she give up? Hardly. She takes her father’s determination and applies it to Brian’s challenges, fights for his rights and provides him with an amazing life. She takes what she learned about her son, gets her Master’s in Special Education, takes a job with Suffolk County Services and starts educating and helping families who have children with special needs. She takes all that was good from her life with Joe, meets a wonderful man named Geoffrey and has been happily married to him for 15 years. And did I mention that she is the mother of four boys? All of whom have grown up to be exceptional men.
This Mother’s Day I will be making a donation to my fundraising on my mother’s behalf. If you are looking for a gift to give to your mother, consider making a contribution to my (or any) charity in her name. It’s a great way to help people who need it and I’m sure Mom will be proud of the selfless act you’ve done on her behalf. I am racing to save lives to honor my father, but I couldn’t and wouldn’t be doing so if it wasn’t for my Mother. I am my mother’s son. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! Please click on the below link to learn more about my story, to share your stories and to donate. Thanks for your time.
Five weeks of fundraising left, nine weeks until race day. In training for an Ironman you spend hours swimming, biking and running. And thinking. Thinking about anything from, I’ve got to replace the light bulb in the kitchen to, why they heck am I doing this?
At some point along the way my thoughts always come to my father and cancer and all the people who have been affected by this terrible disease. You may not know it, but if you’ve shared a story with me about yourself or a loved one who has had to deal with cancer, I’ve thought about you and them while on the road or in the water. Your stories motivate me, they keep me going. Recently the below passage has been on my mind while training and I wanted to share it with you.
Sometimes I can’t remember your voice. See your face, feel you breath.
Are you still there? We talk all the time or so I think…Do I put the words in the mouth, of the voice I can’t remember,On the face I cannot see?
Are you still there? I’d give years for one second more. One word, one touch, one breath. Just to let me know, that you’re still there.The boy you knew is the man I am. And the man you were is the person I want to become.
Strong but sensitive, loving but tough. I’m learning and living, you’re teaching but not. Fight my doubts and remember your voice. Close my eyes and see your face. The wind will blow and I feel your breath.
Are you still there? Yes. Within me.
This Sunday is Father’s Day. A day to recognize and honor all the men who have shaped us into the people we are today and hope to be in the future. I am honoring my father in the best way I know how, fighting the disease which took his life. Thing is, I can’t do this on my own, I need your help. On this Father’s Day I ask you to honor my dad, your dad and all dads by donating to a cause in his name. What better way to honor his life than by giving the gift of hope to those in need. Happy Father’s Day to my dad and all the dads out there. Please click on the below link to learn more about my story, to share your stories and to donate. Thanks for your time. http://pages.teamintraining.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this.