Garry and Christine Welsh had been considering ways to give back to their community.
The Windermere couple talked about getting involved with Florida Hospital’s new Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes. But then the unexpected happened, and suddenly there was no question about how they would help others.
Christine, 53, was diagnosed with lung cancer. A nonsmoker, Christine developed a type of lung cancer – adenocarcinoma – that is the most common among women. Surgeons were able to remove the cancer and save about two-thirds of her right lung. Christine has passed all of her checkups since her surgery last June.
But having a cancer scare so close to home gave Garry an idea. Why not raise money for lung cancer research?
“We said to Florida Hospital that if we are going to get involved, we want to get involved in something cancer related,” said Garry, 49. “I had this idea that I’d like to do an Ironman triathlon. Why don’t we do a fund-raiser around that to create some awareness?”
So with help from Florida Hospital, Garry created a website for his “Tri-ing For A Cure” Initiative.
The website details what Garry is doing and why, and explains how people can contribute to the Welshes cause. The money raised will go to the Florida Hospital Cancer Institute, the nation’s third largest cancer treatment center.
“I witnessed Christine’s bravery before, during and after an operation that removed a large section of her right lung,” said Garry, a former top-level executive at Barclay’s, a global bank based in London. “My wife is an inspiration to me.”
Garry’s goal is to raise $140,600, which represents $1,000 for every mile he will run, bike and swim in the torturous triathlon. He will attempt the 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and 26.2-mile run on Nov. 17 in Tempe, AZ.
Garry says the enormous physical demands of a triathlon, including training 20 hours a week, seem fitting for raising money to fight lung cancer.
“I thought about the idea of ironically suffering, using my lungs to get me through the course but helping people whose own lungs may have problems,” he said. “My fund-raising goal is a challenging one, but I’m totally committed to this cause. The initial response from donors has been amazing. Just knowing I have so many people behind me will spur me on to that finish line.
Helping others, even if it involves laboring through a triathlon, can be a great source of happiness and satisfaction. That sense of well-being can lead to a healthier, longer life – the goal of Florida Hospital’s Healthy 100 program.
“Everybody’s got a bucket list,” Garry said. “They don’t always write it down. Most of the time they don’t get around to doing it. Normally there is a reason that we create within ourselves for not wanting to progress the things we’d really like to do. An excuse of sorts. I like to test my boundaries and eliminate those excuses from my own life.
“Whatever it takes, on Nov. 17 I will cover the 140.6 miles and reach that finish line. I will be an Ironman, and more importantly, I will have raised funds to help prevent suffering for other lung cancer patients.”
If interested in supporting the cause, visit the fundraising site!
What’s on your bucket list? Could you use it to help others?