My Fundraising Page

Ride as if your life depends on it, because someone's life does
Jun 07, 2017 by Billy Dudjoc

 

Finish Line of AMBBR 2017, Statline, NV

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My Fundraising Page
Jun 07, 2017

For the 6th time I will be riding in Americas Most Beautiful Bike Ride to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Three years ago my cousin and teammate Steve Gurnis passed away. His passing changed my life. Since then I have always ridden Tahoe with Steve at my back and doing his fundraising as well. For that reason I have set my goal at $10,000 ($5,000 for Steve and $5,000 for me).

Those who know me well know how important this mission is to me. For that reason I am starting early.

 

May 29, 2017

 

Each year around this time I feel it necessary to remind folks where Team in Training came from. Many of you know (or maybe you don’t) that Bruce Cleland of Harrison New York formed a team to run in the NYC marathon. This was in honor of his two year old daughter Georgia who was diagnosed with Leukemia. They called themselves TEAM IN TRAINING. Together they raised over $ 300,000 for the Leukemia Society of America.

 

Where did Bruce get his inspiration??? Say hello to Lucy Duffy!!

 

I am proud to call Lucy a friend and one of my heroes. She has inspired me every year to keep on doing what I do.

 

Below is the speech Lucy gave at AMBBR’s 2011 inspiration dinner. I could not make the ride that year as I was sidelined with afib. My cousin Steve met Lucy in the hallway of his hotel that year and described her in great detail.

 

I know this is a little longer than a TWEET but please take the time to read this. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me.

 

 

THE FIRE OF COMMITMENT

 

          I am honored to be able to speak to you today.  From my point of view of age, of having run the NY Marathon on my own as Lucy Against Leukemia in 1986, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society when charity runners for marathons did not exist, from having been on the very first Team in Training event organized by Bruce Cleland in the New York Marathon in 1988 and from my participation in many TNT marathons, sprint triathlons and now my passion for the Triple Crown, I hope I have something to offer sharing the Fire of Commitment.

 

          When asked if anyone wanted to speak I volunteered. Such forthrightness is not my usual style.  Perhaps being 78 and having cancer myself makes me bold. I was diagnosed with breast Cancer in November of 2010, had a mastectomy in December followed by radiation in March/April.  I recovered in good order and as quickly as possible was on my beloved shiny red bike determined to catch up with our New England Team and get in shape for Tahoe. As a triathlete I have biked but never 100 miles so this is a new, challenging and exciting adventure. Since I live at sea level on Cape Cod, until recently I had never tackled a mountain.

 

          Perhaps, also, I am so bold because of being a victim of cancer and believing that research to fight blood related diseases is beneficial towards curing all cancers.

 

Perhaps it is because I have been so passionate about my involvement with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society since my husband died of acute myelogenous leukemia in 1986 at a time when there was practically no hope for survival.

 

          Perhaps it is because I have seen so much progress and so many survivors because of money raised for research over these 25 years.

 

          Perhaps it is because I have worked hard over the years to raise money, well over $200,000.

 

          Perhaps it is because I am committed to physical fitness and have seen how the involvement of athletes in sports is enhanced by the chance to become more than they were by helping others.

 

Life is always tenuous and I am emboldened by all of this.  I am told often in my association with young athletes of being an inspiration. I appreciate that and they, in turn, inspire me with their energy and commitment and our mutual respect for our fitness.  This interconnectedness of age and youth, of strength and common commitment and the sense of continuity beyond one’s self is very satisfying.  Perhaps immortality is inspiration shared by one generation to the next.

 

I am feeling the Fire of Commitment today which I am sure you feel or you

would not have trained so hard and raised so much money for the Cause.

 

These words from a hymn I sang recently in church have stayed with me:

 

When the fire of commitment sets our mind and soul ablaze.

When our hunger and our passion meet to call us on our way,

When we live with deep assurance of the flame that burns within,

Then our promise finds fulfillment and our future can begin.

 

That Fire of Commitment has sustained me and fired me up for many years and has been a guiding force in my life.  It is a passion within to try to be the best one can be physically and emotionally and to be able to give to others.

 

I wrote an essay: Running Through Grief as a personal necessity after my husband’s death. Keeping fit has sustained me through so many of life’s challenges.

         

          I offer it to you now, a bit modified to suit the event. The message is rooted in running but it applies to the challenge we all face tomorrow.

         

          Running Through Grief

 

          Allen won’t be here to see me off for this Century Ride as he was when he drove me over the Verranzano Bridge to Staten Island to the start of the New York Marathon in 1986. Perhaps luckily so for he might think me totally mad climbing mountains at my age. My seventy eight year old body balks a bit while I train but I still yearn for the exhilaration of completing one more endurance event. For a Century, as with a marathon, to finish is to win. While struggling to keep up with my New England Team in the hills of Western Massachusetts on our last long training ride, I thought of the Marathon of 1986 when finishing was winning in a very special way.

 

          Allen survived to share that Marathon Day with me. He made it through the first horrible onslaught of chemotherapy after the diagnosis of leukemia in July of ‘85 when he was 54 years old.

 

          Running sustained me. I lived in Allen’s sterile hospital room that first summer of intense treatment. Wearing all white and face masks, the nurses and doctors and I struggled to help Allen. With ice rubs as tortuous to Allen as the raging fever, we tried to cool his burning body. The poison injected through the port in his chest to kill the cancer cells also destroyed his immunity to infection.

 

          Daily I ran.  I ran out through the hospital corridors into the streets of New Haven.  I ran and I gained strength.

 

          In September of ‘85 Allen came home from the hospital, a skeleton of himself and I ran. The school year began and I taught and I ran. The tension, the anxiety of Allen’s condition, and the prognosis were overwhelming. I left the house each day to pound the certainty of the earth, to absorb the changes of the seasons, to fill my lungs with the good air, to keep strong for my husband and my children and me, to exult in my ability to keep putting one foot in front of the other no matter what. Running kept me on course. I ran through that fall, that winter, that spring, that summer of ‘86 and the next fall and Allen ran with me in my heart.

 

          After a year and a half of hospitalization, chemotherapy, spontaneous bleeding, middle of the night emergency room visits, innumerable blood and platelet transfusions, bone marrow tests, and the daily anxiety of uncertain blood counts, Allen was in remission, having outlived his life sentence by a year.

 

          One day while I ran a thought came to me.  I would run the New York Marathon and raise money for the Leukemia Society of America.  I wrote a letter telling of my mission to friends and relatives thinking I might raise a couple hundred dollars. Allen was a bit embarrassed at first but when the notes and money began pouring in, he got into the spirit. The project mushroomed.  Allen became the accountant, totaling up the pledges and enjoying the accompanying notes of love and encouragement. Often confined to home with low blood levels, Allen savored the daily mail. He read and counted and I ran.

 

          It was marathon day in ‘86. Allen wasn’t feeling tip top, but he was well enough to go to New York with me.  Allen drove me over the Verrazano Bridge and he kissed me. I hopped out of the car to join the hordes of runners crowding onto Staten Island to prepare for the start. Allen looked pale and he was anxious that I would be all right. It is a long way, 26.2 miles. I was confident and imbued with my mission.

 

          I wore a shirt which said, LUCY AGAINST LEUKEMIA.  While I ran through all the boroughs of New York, I surveyed the crowd and handed out little self-made solicitations for our cause. I ran.  I flew.  I floated.  Nothing could stop me.

 

          At the 16 mile mark, just over the Queensborough Bridge on First Avenue and 65th Street, my family was waiting and I paused for hugs and kisses.  Two of my four sons joined me in Central Park to run the last two miles.  Allen watched the marathon on TV from a hotel room. We were both heroes that day.  He was alive and I finished the marathon and raised over 20,000 dollars to fight leukemia.

 

          Allen died a month later.

 

          A giant wave of loss kept catching up with me and enveloping me. I cried and I cried and I ran.

                  

          One day Bruce Cleland from Harrison, New York called me.  His two year old daughter, Georgia, had leukemia.  He and his wife Isobel organized a team of runners in the New York Marathon to raise money to fight leukemia called TEAM IN TRAINING.  I joined his effort.  We raised over $300,000 that year.  TEAM IN TRAINING is now a nationwide and international effort and has raised over a billion dollars since its inception. Bruce Cleland created something remarkable and I am proud to have been a part of it.

         

          Tomorrow I will try again, moving more slowly now, but keeping pedaling one foot in front of the other. I will ride in honor of Bennett Hartley , a courageous seven year old boy from my community struggling with leukemia. For good luck I am carrying a baseball signed by Bennett.

 

          I will keep moving, running, biking, swimming and I will survive also.  The joy of the ride, the joy that is life, continues.

 

           I wish you all the best tomorrow with that Fire of Commitment in your hearts, your souls and your legs.

 

          Lucy DeVries Duffy, Copyright: May 2011

 

May 18, 2017

Hey guys, this is my last posting before I head out to Lake Tahoe. So far we are up to $7,500. A special thanks to Alex Cunngham for his second donation to get the number up to that :-).

 

Progress to date: 1,134 miles total for 2017. Not bad considering we only road 3 days/96 miles in March (We got more miles in February!). A blizzard in March will do that to you!!!

 

Thanks to my friend Jim and his nasty mid-week rides, we were able to get in 540 miles in April and are on target to hit that number in May.

 

I am totally in awe and proud of TEAM REMISSION. Together as a team we have raised $ 33,312. To show the dedication of this group, they all showed up for our 80 mile ride on Tuesday (Our weekend was a total washout). It’s this type of dedication that makes me believe we will find a cure soon. Two of our members are in their 70’s, two in their 60’s, one in his 50’s, and one kid!! (Sorry Dan….I don’t know how old you are).

 

As you can see, none of us are elite athletes but between all of us combined we have circled the lake 50+ times….over 5,000 miles!!! And while I don’t have the exact $$$$, I think we have raised close to $ 500,000. Not bad for a bunch of old guys and one kid!!

 

It ain’t that hard to get ready for this ride…..but it ain’t that easy either. The hills seem to get a little steeper, the speed gets a little slower, and the nature breaks are a little more frequent each year.  We do it because we are all relentless to find a cure. All of us together can make a difference.

 

So now it’s your turn. Our first fundraising cut-off date is May 23rd.  $500 would put us at $ 8,000…a good place to be before our flight out.

 

When I get out to Tahoe you know I will be bothering you again!!

 

For those of you who gave, THANK YOU. For those who were planning to donate, now is a good time :-). And for everyone else, please give what you can. No donation is too small. All of them together will help get us:

 

100 MILES CLOSER TO A CURE!!!

 

 

 

May 8, 2017

I can’t believe it’s only four weeks until we will be in Lake Tahoe riding 100 miles for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Even though this will be my 6th time, each trip is still quite emotional. It is hard to explain what you feel when you see a packed banquet hall filled with people who are all there for the same reason: To Fight Cancer. Everyone is cheering, laughing, crying, and honored to be there. So many of the folks there have gone outside their comfort zone not only from a physical standpoint but also from a fundraising standpoint.

 

Team in Training challenges us all in so many ways. You come through this 13 week program a much better person than you were at the start. If you are lucky you will make some friends you will have for life. I’ve lucky enough to make quite a few. Imagine a miracle in only 13 weeks !

 

Many of you have been so generous this year with your donations. Some have even given twice. Some of you I know really can’t afford it but feel as strong about this mission as I do. I hold them quite dear to my heart.

 

We are approaching our first fundraising deadline of May 23rd. This is when LLS hopes to get the close to final count. At present we are $ 3,242 shy of our $ 10,000 goal. I have no doubt that will your help we will get there.  I would really like to see us at $ 8,000 by May 23rd.  (Only $ 1,242).

Please click DONATE NOW. Your help will go a long way.

 

80 mile ride this week, then 100 KM the week after, and then the bikes ship out!!

Very soon we will be 100 miles closer to a cure.

 

April 23, 2017

 

60 miles yesterday with a lot of climbing. OK we were ready for it. Our longest ride so far this season and the weather was supposed to be starting out cloudy and 50 degrees warming to 60 and partly sunny. Perfect for this time of year!

 

½ hour into the ride the showers started and didn’t really end for about four hours. Wiping the water off my computer I noticed the temperature was at 44 degrees and never really budged all day.  We were all waiting for the first climb to warm us up. It came, it went and by the time we went down again we were back to being cold !

 

At mile 30 or so we stopped in Durham, CT to get some water and fuel after riding 3 miles in a steady rain. As we filled up our water bottles the joking started along with the funny pictures. I have been riding a lot of years with these guys. For all of us it is much more than a ride. It is a mission……a battle…..a search.

Ed, Billy, and Paul

Ed, Paul, Billy, Dan, and Jim

Ed, Nat, and Paul

 

As hard as this ride was it was nothing compared to what our heroes go through. I remember my friends Art saying to me once when we were soaked to the bone: “You know Billy….Chemo was harder”. And Art would know.

 

We are lucky to be doing what we are doing. For people we love, have lost, and for those we have not met.

 

Cancer has taken a lot from many of us but my friend Louise pointed out what cancer cannot take from us”:

 

What cancer cannot do……

It cannot cripple love                                                     It cannot kill friendship

It cannot shatter hope                                                   It cannot shut out memories

It cannot corrode faith                                                  It cannot silence courage

It cannot eat away peace                                             It cannot reduce eternal life

It cannot destroy confidence                                     It cannot quench the spirit

 

Louise and her husband are fighting their own battle with cancer. Every day is a new beginning. Please send them some positive energy their way.

 

You can help with the fight by clicking on DONATE NOW. Together we can make a difference.

 

April 14, 2017

 

It looks like spring has finally arrived. No rain this week and have so far managed to get in three outdoor rides. With a 56 ride tomorrow that should make 160 miles for the week. A good start at least.

 

I was lucky to ride two rides with my friend Jim Kimball. I met Jim in 2009 at the Tour of the Litchfield Hills. I had just bought a rode bike but was riding the 35 mile route on my hybrid. We discussed Tahoe at the first rest stop and talked about the training the team goes through. I told him I would be riding in Tahoe with them in 2010. He sort of looked down at my hybrid bike as if to ask “You weren’t planning on riding that….were you?” I quickly said I just bought a road bike. Since that time Jim has become a my coach, mentor, good friend, and most of all a true inspiration.