Ty Louis Campbell

On October 17th, 2012, Eric Cheek heard a story that would instantly build a path he felt compelled to walk down. Despite having never met him, a boy called Ty Louis Campbell would change Eric’s life forever.

Ty had been diagnosed with a rhabdoid tumor – a very rare and aggressive cancer specific to children. Despite having battled it for more than half of his short life, he ultimately passed from this terrible disease. Eric explains, “He endured procedures most grown men wouldn’t be able to handle. He went through rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. The affect of these treatments were severe on his little body. He eventually lost his ability to walk or stand on his own and was paralyzed from his neck down.”

But despite the crippling pain and various procedures Ty went through, his beaming trademark smile never left his lips.

Eric continues, “As I followed his mother Cindy’s blog on www.superty.org , I prayed, at times begged, for a miracle. You see, this little boy was able to reach into my very being and leave a mark on my soul that will remain forever. I have learned so much from this little boy that I cannot accurately express, except to say that he has changed me for the better. When he earned his wings, I remember sitting on my couch in my living room and crying. I remember praying for his family and for his soul. I never got a chance to meet this little miracle. I was never really able to pay him the respect he was due or to honor him.”

There was another personal connection, “Ty’s father, Lou, is a native of Mahopac, NY, as am I and actually graduated with my older brother. And from where we come from, when someone needs help, you help.”

Eric decided to do what was natural for him. His giving nature, coupled with his passion for running made it a shoe-in for what he would do. The runner who jogs anywhere between 10 and 20 miles a week and regularly attends three bootcamps a week is now driven by a purpose.

He says, “My initial fundraiser on Crowdrise.com has a goal of $2500.00. However, I do not intend to do one fundraiser and call it quits. I will be actively involved in the Foundation for as long as they will have me. I will run as many events as I can possibly run if it will help get Ty’s story in front of more people.”

An excerpt from Cindy’s – Ty’s mother – blog written about the day Ty passed summed up what they were all feeling, “Ty Louis Campbell is gone, but his story continues. This is our promise to him. His impact on the world around him gives his short but inspirational life such meaning. His soaring spirit will continue to fuel a fire in our hearts, and strangers around the world will continue to fall in love with the little boy who fought so valiantly. The little boy who hurt so much, but maintained a bigger, brighter smile than the healthiest of children.”

Below is a link to the fundraising page. If you’d like to contribute, click HERE.

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by Robert Perednia

I was introduced to the world of Spartan Racing last year at the Amesbury Sprint and was not prepared how it would change the way I look at life. Literally crawling up a trail while struggling to catch my breath, I was wondering why years of sports, weight-lifting, and running weren’t helping my legs get me up this hill. Eventually crossing the finish line covered in mud, bruises, and scrapes was a great experience but also a motivation. I went home and trained hard to attempt another race.

With a little luck, I was able to finish the Tri-State Super and Vermont Beast. The training challenged me physically and emotionally in ways I couldn’t even imagine possible, but the experience was incredible. I’ve met inspiring people I now call my friends, been on top of mountains overlooking beautiful landscapes, felt great highs, and overcome frustrating lows. Unfortunately, not everyone has the opportunity to experience these feelings and that makes it all the more special to me.

This is why I chose to run for Zack.

Zack is my friend and has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD). DMD is a genetic disorder affecting approximately 1 in every 3,500 male births and results in progressive muscle weakness. Because the heart is a muscle and the lungs require muscle to function properly, young men with DMD typically only live into their twenties. Zack is now 20 and only able to control his fingers and head, confining him to a wheelchair. However, he is living life to the fullest and continues to excel every day. Zack is in college studying video-game design, a genius with computers, and is more educated about cars than anybody I know. Zack and other courageous young men with DMD prove strength cannot be measured and remind us that we should all take pride in the gifts we have.

So this year my goals for Spartan racing have changed. Zack is my motivation to not just finish but to run each event as hard

Bobby and Zack

as I possibly can. If I am lucky enough to place within earning a cash prize, all will go to Zack’s foundation to benefit finding a cure for DMD. The Zack Heger Foundation has been huge in supporting Muscular Dystrophy research and helped show that preventative care can improve quality of life and increase life expectancy. My small part is to be a voice for Zack’s amazing story and raise awareness for the countless other boys who have been affected by Muscular Dystrophy.

It is a privilege to run Spartan Races and Zack has helped me realize how fortunate I really am. Whether you’re competitively racing, running for fun, training at the gym, or walking the dog, what we are able to do is a blessing. I truly believe the goal in life is to make a positive difference for someone else and I hope my excitement and passion inspires you to do the same.

See you at the starting line.

For more information and to show your support, visit www.zackhegerfoundation.org.

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Spartan Death Racer Frank Fumich and ultra-runner Matt Nelson who had set out to run from Arlington, VA to Boston, MA to hand deliver funds raised for Boston victims has ended and the nearly 450 miles have been run in alternating marathons by the duo. Their feat, which was marred by high temps, heavy traffic, and some issues with navigation and added mileage. Fumich, no stranger to ultra events admitted that this event was brutal and grueling for the five days it took to complete. The run was planned after Fumich and Nelson organized a fundraiser to support the Richard family who tragically lost their son Martin and Jeff Bauman, who was injured in the two blasts at the Boston Marathon finish line on Monday, April 15, 2013.

Fumich, Hurley, and Nelson

Fumich and Nelson gained a lot of notoriety for their inspired run and their story was featured prominently in a variety of media outlets, gaining the following of friends, family and even strangers of the organizers of the run. The effort was not without mishaps including unforeseen detours and delays that forced crew members jumping in and completing some of the mileage so that the run could stay on time and on track.

The final marathon would be completed by both runners and their crew and would follow the Boston Marathon course, ending at the not infamous finish line. The group was met by Erin Hurley, girlfriend of Jeff Bauman who was injured while waiting at the finish line to meet her when he lost both legs in the bomb blasts.

The Washington Post reports, At the finish line, they were greeted by Larry Marchese, a representative of the family of Martin Richard, the eight-year-old boy killed by the blasts. Fumich and Nelson had targeted the Richard family, and then Bauman, as the beneficiaries of their runs.

“They are absolutely in awe of what you have accomplished,” Marchese told them, WCVB reported, “and especially in this weather so thank you guys so much on behalf of the Richard family.”

Fumich meeting Jeff Bauman

It was also reported that after they finished, they went to a family barbecue where they met both Bauman and Carlos Arredondo, who leapt into action after the bombings and was seen assisting Bauman in the same photo.

Once the mileage was complete, Fumich was reflective of the distance, the cause, and the outpouring of support and interest in his effort.  He was all thanks after driving back to Virginia from Boston saying, “I also want to say a sincere thank you to all my friends, acquaintances, and total strangers who reached out and sent such nice comments, posts, and messages throughout our journey!

I received dozens and dozens of them and was just TOTALLY BLOWN AWAY by the nice things people had to say and how much they were thinking about us and pulling for us…and many brought tears to my eyes!”

The duo have raised over $81,100 for the charity. Find out more about the run and the cause by clicking HERE.

Follow the Twitter Chatter #DC2BOS

(Photos courtesy of Frank Fumich.)

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Frank Fumich, (Spartan Death Racer) and Matt Nelson, two ultra-athletes, will run 450 miles non-stop from the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial to the Boston Marathon finish line. The 10 state route runs through the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial, DC Monuments, Baltimore Harbor, Independence Mall in Philadelphia, Newark, Manhattan/Ground Zero/ Central Park in NYC, Connecticut, and finishing with the Boston Marathon course. The 24/7, 5 day run started Tuesday, May 28th, at 6:00 am EST, and is estimated to end Saturday, June 1st, 12:00 p.m.  They are currently in New York City and Fumich has finished out his fifth marathon.

“104.8 miles DONE!” says Fumich in an update. “My combined time running is about 21 hours and I’m working on about 6 hours of sleep since Monday. I’ve been trying to figure out what day it is for the last 5 minutes and I just can’t think straight…but apparently I couldn’t think straight before, because I came up with this idea in the first place! Ha Wow!

The idea was born after Nelson and Fumich witnessed the devestation of the bombings.  “After what we saw happen in Boston, Frank and I knew we had to show the world that the running community is a resilient, loving, and giving family. The truth is, I started The Endurance Trust back in 2005 on that premise.” says Nelson.  ”As athletes, we’re passionate about the causes we run for. We’re encouraging every runner to participate on our run to Boston. Join us for a block, join us for a day. We won’t turn family away.”

Having raised over $52,000 toward their original goal of $26,200, Fumich and Nelson have announced a new goal of $78,600, to be completed by the time they finish their run. The initial $52,000 was raised through a 78.6 mile, triple-marathon fundraiser, done using the online peer-to-peer fundraising platform, FirstGiving.

In order to complete the 450 mile run, Frank and Matt will alternate marathons. While one runs, the other will rest. The two will be escorted by local and State Police along the route from DC, Maryland, and all the way into Boston and carry a GPS device to provide live, location updates. In solidarity, local Bostonians plan to welcome the two by running the last 5K along their side.  Once in Boston, the pair will personally present checks to victims of the bombing attacks.  Follow the Twitter Chatter #DC2BOS

To learn more about their epic journey and to donate to the cause, please visit their page HERE.  We’ll update you as to their progress.

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