BENEFITING: FRIENDS OF THE FOLDS OF HONOR FOUNDATION
ORGANIZER: FRIENDS OF THE FOLDS OF HONOR FOUNDATION
EVENT DATE: Oct 10, 2015
FRIENDS OF THE FOLDS OF HONOR FOUNDATION wrote -
I was first introduced to Folds of Honor in 2008 at a dinner that changed everything for me. Major Dan "Noonan" Rooney, F-16 fighter pilot and PGA professional, shared his story of founding FOH along with the mission of providing educational scholarships to the children and spouses of fallen and wounded soldiers.
In January 2010 I had a radical prostatectomy, which involved removing the prostate gland and other related tissues and glands. Post-surgery analysis concluded that, I indeed, had an aggressive form of cancer that had grown quite quickly in the past year. My ability to rid myself of this cancer was going to require both significant radiation treatment and hormone therapy.
After surgery, I began a program of intense radiation and hormone therapy. The drugs administered as a part of the hormone therapy were designed to shut down the production of testosterone (effectively a “chemical castration”) and thus starve the cancer that potentially remained in the pelvic area of its primary source of food. During this period of treatment I lost substantially all of my muscle mass despite the fact that I continued to exercise as best I could. My appetite for food largely disappeared, my energy levels plummeted to lows I had never experienced before and my mental state simply spiraled downward. I needed a diversion to get through this and I needed it quickly.
Without consulting my doctors I decided to resume training for the Ironman event that upcoming September once my incision had healed. I swam, I biked and I ran as best I could. Instead of getting faster I got slower. Some days after exercise I would be bed ridden for a day or two as I simply didn’t have the energy to get up.
September 10th arrived and it was time to do Ironman Madison. I swam the 2.4 miles. I biked the 112 miles despite severe cramping that required me to walk up the last 6 hills. I ran 13.1 miles before I came to the realization that, after 14 hours of effort, this was not going to happen for me. I turned in my timing chip and walked back to my hotel room, defeated.
The following week my enthusiasm for life returned. I concluded that cancer might have won this round but not the bout. During this week I signed up for Ironman Florida the following November. I knew that by this time the effects of radiation and hormone therapy would surely have worn off and I would have a much better chance to complete the race. I continued to train as best I could but it wasn’t until the following June that I could sense that my body was starting to rejuvenate and that my energy levels were returning. I can do this.
In November of 2010 I completed the Ironman Florida in 16 hours and 43 minutes. 6 hours short of qualifying for Kona, I was motivated to make it. In terms of cancer recurrence, I don’t have the percentages working in my favor... if I'm going to do this, I have got to do it now.
I am now training to participate in my 14th Ironman race, the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Please support the Folds of Honor and my efforts by making a donation in honor of those who have been killed/disabled defending our freedoms.