BENEFITING: Cactus Jack Foundation
ORGANIZER: THE IRONMAN FOUNDATION
EVENT: YOUR JOURNEY, YOUR CAUSE
Tim and Brian’s Bernier Family Support through Cactus Jack
Tim Watson and Brian Beahn will be training to compete in the 2015 Ironman Mt-Tremblant 70.3 and the 140.6 Ironman events in June and August, respectfully. They are dedicating their races to help fundraising for Amanda, Chris and Arabella Grace Bernier in South East Connecticut. The reason is simple; anything worth doing is worth over-doing; and helping others is a blessing and a privilege.
Amanda Bernier was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS- Lou Gehrig’s disease) only days after she and her husband Chris received joyous news: They were expecting their first child; the baby they’d wished for during years of working side by side as firefighters and emergency medical first responders. But something was wrong. A runner who had raced only weeks before, Amanda felt her legs giving out as she climbed into a fire truck answering another emergency call from her community. Chris helped support her up the high, metal steps. Nothing like this had happened during the years they’d both served as “Nomads,” volunteers with the North Madison Volunteer Fire Company, whose motto is “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.” ALS had begun to change their lives forever. Since that day on the truck, Amanda and Chris have learned she has the most aggressive form of the disease.
What does ALS mean for Amanda? ALS is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that causes the deterioration of motor neurons. There is no cure or treatment. Amanda’s condition has worsened to the point where she can no longer walk and is living as long and strong as she can for the sake of “Peanut,” as she and Chris are calling their little girl. Amanda understood that her pregnancy could accelerate her disease, but made the decision to sacrifice her own wellbeing for the sake of her unborn child. On November 4th, 2014, Arabella Grace Bernier was born weighing at 6.5 lbs, 19 inches long. Both Peanut and Mom are doing great!!
Amanda is a fellow triathlete. She participated in 3 triathlons in 2013: The YMCA Triathlon, the Summer Solstice Triathlon in MA, and the Madison Triathlon in CT. She was always running or riding, and being in shape was a priority of hers. Ironman and triathletes around the world are part of a special breed of people who love backwards hats, riding fast, and a good beer, BUT they never lose focus on what is important in life and are quick to embrace moments to help each other.
Tim and Brian have decided their 2015 racing season to help this family in need. Together, with the help of The Cactus Jack Foundation of South East Connecticut, they will race in honor of the Bernier family while raising money to support their dreams, wishes, and finances. The Cactus Jack Foundation, Inc. is a grassroots, not-for-profit charity dedicated to serving families, individuals and other charitable organizations in need throughout Southeastern Connecticut. The Foundation was organized over ten years ago in memory and honor of Edwin “Cactus Jack” Evento. Mr. Evento was a long time community volunteer who touched the lives of many throughout Southeastern Connecticut. The Foundation and its members also recognize the need for volunteerism, and are well known for lending time and expertise to local good-cause fundraisers. Cactus Jack has graciously agreed to be the official non-profit organization, sponsoring Tim and Brian’s “journey” and raise money to help with this cause (Thank you, Cactus Jack!).
Life is often times so much larger than ourselves; racing to help the Bernier family will definitely give extra incentive to Tim and Brian when they wake up tired, sore, and exhausted, only to have to repeat long, grueling training days. Training and racing will not be taken for granted and will help them reflect on life’s blessing. Helping others will make their race season/ journey that much more worthwhile. After all, the journey is the destination. Giving back makes that destination so much more enjoyable. It is an honor and privilege to be able to race and help such a deserving family in our community. Together, our financial gifts can relieve them of their stressors so that they can focus their energies on Amanda’s well‐being and spending time with their daughter and family.