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Greetings Blazeman Warriors and Supporters!

 

MaryAnn New Headshot

As I write this newsletter the Northeast is having one of the coldest and snowiest Februarys on record. Not good for those diagnosed with ALS...the cold is especially hard on them, never mind the added snow which makes getting out an added challenge.

 

Our Blazeman Cycle events are in full swing...some events will take place in March which for many was a great decision! Thank you to all our returning hosts...our success is yours in the War on ALS?. We look forward to many pictures which will be shared on our website and newsletters to follow.

 

After a lot of hard work by Joseph Goddard and Alfred Lamothe, a road race will happen in 2015! TRIMOM Productions

has taken up the challenge and the date is set for June 14th
at the beautiful Aldrich Mansion grounds in Warwick, Rhode Island. Registration is open and we hope to see many of you there! Jon spoke there back in 2006 at an MDA event...he will return with us that day in Blazeman style! We hope many of you can come out and join us!


 

 

On April 4th, we will again be back volunteering at the Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon with Kelly Burns Gallagher. The bibs for this year's race speak for itself!!! A very special way indeed, to remember Jon and his most special number 179, during the 10th anniversary year of his inspiring race in Kona. Thank you Kelly!! We hope to see many of you there this year and hopefully we will not see any snow on the ground! It has been a very tough winter in New England...a great way to get moving outdoors!!

 

The Blazeman Foundation for ALS has been chosen to be the official charity for this year's TRI-MANIA summit and exp.This event is held on March 20th in Washington, DC and March 28th in Boston. Bob and I will have an exhibit at the Boston event for the BMF. We look forward to this opportunity to share Jon's story and foundation with the athletes that attend. Thank you to Mark Walter for contacting us and helping us to connect with athletes in our home state!

                                              

This year, 2015, being the 10th anniversary of Jon's diagnosis on May 2nd and come this October, the 10th year that we all made the trip to Kona with Jon to put a face on ALS. He did that by finishing, making all the cutoffs. Jon had not done a race in 2 years while teaching and working on his Master's Degree in Special Ed. He had put racing on hold. He knew that finishing was key to the story. Jon remains as the only person with ALS to do so. We long for the day that an ALS survivor has the opportunity to do the same.

 

We will celebrate Jon's life as we do, not just in our everyday lives, but certainly at events we attend. We hope to see many of those who knew Jon at the Blazeman Run at Aldrich in June! Mark your calendars!


 

'til next time,

Mary Ann

Jon's mom

From the Battlefields

 

Team Larry...

is back training for the Boulder 70.3 this coming June...we have written about this great family that raced in honor of Larry "Les" Dawson. Larry passed away in July of 2013 but his spirit lives on through this amazing family and their friends. Their constant support of the Blazeman Foundation for ALS has been inspiring to us! 

 

Team Larry with Les in the 3rd row center

 

 

Team Drea Challenge

Last Fall I introduced you all to Andrea Lytle Peet...a beautiful young woman diagnosed with ALS last May. Andrea now has a team of athletes committed to racing and donating to her cause. Please check out her blog, and read what makes this young woman special! Andrea was also featured recently in an article in Endurance Magazine. Andrea is quite the warrior in the War on ALS!

 

Research Updates...

Our research updates are all on our website...the ALS tissue program continues to grow with more donations coming in. This tissue is shared with ALS researchers worldwide. Please take a few minutes and keep up on how your dollars are spent.

 

 

Blazeman estore...

Blazeman Warrior? and Foundation Gear - The Blazeman Foundation for ALS is proud to partner with Nightmare Graphics to provide our Team  

Blazeman? Warriors and other supporters in the WarOnALS? with the ability to purchase clothing and merchandise to help raise awareness. Current Team Blazeman? warriors at the top 2 levels also have the ability to purchase extra gear so you can always train and race while supporting ALS.

 

Click here to view the estore

 

Carrie McCoy, Blazeman Supporter and Cycle for ALS host for the past several years has gone PRO!!! Carrie's amazing performances in Kona and other races 

Danny Hopper(pALS)
and Carrie McCoy 

have earned her a coveted pro card in triathlon. Carrie wore Jon's number 179 at the 2013 WC in Kona. We wish her a great career and we look forward to seeing her Blazeman Logo on her tri-kit!! Thank you Carrie!!!!

 

Catching up with Jenny Hansen,
the BMF's "Blazekid"!
Paula Bieshaar

By Paula Bieshaar 
 
Jenny Hansen knows what it is to give full effort in pursuit of a goal. At the 'ripe old age' of 21 she is an academic standout in her junior year at Johns Hopkins University (majoring in Public Health and Psychology, with an eye toward med school); she has already completed three full Ironman events (the first coming less than a month after turning 18 - the minimum age to enter an Ironman); and has been such a huge supporter of the Blazeman Foundation that she was chosen to represent BMF atthe2015 Boston Marathon.

Growing up in northern California, Jenny discovered her love of triathlon at age 8- competing in Ironkids events for several years, working her way up to the "big kid"Ironman events. However, it was her love of basketball that put her on the path to the Blazeman Foundation. While still playing in the youth leagues prior to high school, she found a mentor and 'second mom' in her coach, Nancy Lux-Polisso.When Jenny ended up attending the same high school as Nancy's children, the bond grew even stronger.


Je
nny will never forget the phone call, nearly six years ago, informing her that Coach Nancy had been diagnosed with ALS. Since Jenny was only 15 at the time, she had to do some digging to understand exactly what that diagnoses meant. Her research led her to Jon Blais' Ironman story - and then she knew what she had to do. In short order, B-? - dad and B-? - mom noticed the fundraising page for a very young Blazeman Warrior - and they really noticed when this Blazekid started bringing in the donations! Jenny had pledged to herself that she would raise $40K before graduating from high school.

Along the way to reaching that goal, there were some very special moments for both Jenny's family and the Polisso family. In 2010, Jenny was training for a70.3when Coach Nancy's son, Michael, said he wanted to compete too. Though Michael was a fit 17 year old, he was not a triathlete, and a 70.3 is no joke. Michael finished that race, as Jenny says, "by sheer force of will", which she acknowledges is a Polisso family trait and just one example of the work ethic that Coach Nancy taught and lived, both on and off the court. Especially meaningful that day was when Nancy- already wheelchair bound from ALS-?
stood up from her chair to cheer as Jenny and Michael rolled across the finish line.


In
Jenny and her mom rolling at IMAZ 
November 2011, having just turned 18, Jenny completed her first 140.6 at Ironman Arizona. Her mom, Rae Lee, was competing that day as well, and as it turned out, Rae Lee found a burst of energy to catch up to Jenny just before the finish. Together they rolled across the finish line, with official finishes just one second apart. (Yes Jon, they got it on film!) Three days later, Jenny reached her fundraising goal of $40K.
Never one to slow down, despite the demands on her time from school, Jenny got back into the groove of her triathlon training to compete in IM Louisville in August of 2014. As she prepared for the race and re-? - v amped her fundraising page, she was in perfect position to ride the wave of the ice bucket challenge. Building on the $40K already raised, her new goal is to raise $100K.

IM Louisville went well, so then - because why not? - Jenny decided to do Ironman Maryland less than a month later. Some might think that sounds crazy, but she set a PR in Maryland - so it worked out OK.

 

Though Jenny has only run one "running only" race - a half marathon - she felt so honored when B-?Mom asked her to run the Boston Marathon. As Jenny said, "I could never say no to the opportunity to represent the Blazeman Foundation- especially on such a large stage." As for actually running the marathon, she has likened her running ability to a 'turtle running through peanut butter'- but she'll be surprised how much energy she has when she doesn't have to start with 114 miles of swimming and biking. All joking aside, Heartbreak Hill doesn't stand a chance of conquering Jenny's positive attitude - which is one more trait she attributes to the example of Coach Nancy, who is still fighting the good fight, nearly six years after her diagnoses.

 

More about Jenny here ... and yes, she will get it on film in Boston!
Tips on requesting bib #179

   

A reminder to all athletes racing in the spirit of the Blazeman...by requesting Jon's number you help spread awareness for ALS...help keep that alive along with Jon's spirit!

 

Please email me if you would like the contact to apply for Jon's number. Requests need to be submitted to the WTC at least two months prior to the race.

 

What better way to help create ALS awareness by sharing Jon's story putting a face on ALS by doing an Ironman with #179. Someday there will be an athlete that will finish an Ironman and say, "I am an ALS survivor". I can't think of more beautiful words...

 

Here's the release from the WTC:

 

World Triathlon Corporation Pays Tribute to Athlete Jon Blais

June 21, 2007 (Tarpon Springs, FL)  

Today, World Triathlon Corporation announces a new initiative where all domestic Ironman, Ironman 70.3 and Iron Girl events will reserve race number 179 for athletes racing for a charitable cause. The race number was made famous by athlete Jon Blais, who made Ironman history in 2005 by becoming the first athlete with ALS to complete the world's toughest endurance event, the Ford Ironman World Championship, in Kailua-Kona, HI.  

 

"The event always has been and always will be so important to me. When I am sitting in a wheelchair down the road, I will look back and know that I fought the great fight," said Blais.  

 

In a short time, Blais became an invaluable member of the Ironman family, opening eyes and hearts to the seriousness of ALS. *After his participation in 2005, he returned to the 2006 event in a wheelchair to cheer on a fellow triathlete who was racing on behalf of the ALS cause. Although Blais passed away on May 27, 2007, his memory and the contributions he made to the sport will last forever.  

 

Prior to being diagnosed with ALS, Blais was an avid triathlete and shared his passion for triathlon with activities such as mountain climbing and hiking. Blais applied his love for the outdoors to his profession, teaching students with special needs. Two years after his diagnosis in May of 2005, Blais founded the Blazeman Foundation, an organization dedicated to promoting awareness of and fundraising for those battling ALS. The foundation continues to grow and has expanded this year to include Team Blazeman, a group of athletes called "Blazeman Warriors" who have committed to raising awareness and funding a search for a cure for ALS... so others may live.  

 

"Jon inspired Ironman staff, athletes and spectators on many different levels. From his outlook on life and the wisdom he exuded while battling ALS to his passion for Ironman, the impact Jon made will stay with us for the rest of our lives. Indeed, he fought the great fight, and we will miss him," said Ben Fertic, president of Ironman.  

 

Athletes interested in racing with number 179 should contact the respective race director of the event in which they wish to participate.  

 

Thanks, 

-blazeman  

 

(*One correction to the press release...the reason Jon returned to Kona in 2006 was to show the multisport world what a year does to an ALS patient...we know he succeeded in doing that.)                          

  A Warm Welcome to our newest Warrior!

  

We are pleased to welcome the following newest warrior to our family. Thank you, and everyone else, for all you do to help our mission.

 

Peter MacDonough

A big welcome to you and we hope to see you at a race this year...please visit our ning  website and start communicating with other warriors and supporters. 

Save the Date: June 14th!

   

On June 14th, TRIMOM PRODUCTIONS owned and run by Kathy Robbins will be putting on the 1st annual Blazeman Run at Aldrich!

We are so pleased to have a local road race back again where Jon grew up and ran many local races. There will be a 5k, 10k and kids run. A huge thank you to Al Lamothe and Joe Goddard for getting the race plans started. The Blais and Murphy families look forward to being there with you all!

 

Registration is open!

Cycle for ALS 2015!

It was a very busy weekend for the cycle events!  The RI event on February 28th made the local news at 6PM and 11PM thanks to our local TV personalities in attendance.

 

To all whose events are over...thank you! Our last event is the March which for those who waited during this coldest and snowiest February I remember...a wise decision!

 

There will be a recap of all events in our April Newsletter. In the meantime, I wanted to share a preview of some of the photos that you've shared. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
Andrea Lytle Peet  surrounded by her friends at Club Worx

Bishop Leatherbury and his good friend Frank Wray (pALS)
Concourse Athletic Club Cycle in Georgia...thanks Debbie and Bishop

Monica Garris showing her stuff!
Cycle Towel from Joe Goddard and 
Peter Vasconcellos'
 cycle for ALS event at Spin-Works!

Garris and Peet Families at Club Worx Cycle event 2015 Don't miss
Andrea and Dave sporting their new Cycle jackets.
A special thanks to James Garris and family for hosting!
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On May 2, 2005, twenty-year Multi-Sport veteran Jon Blais a.k.a. "Blazeman" at age 33 was diagnosed with the fatal motor neuron disease ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis). Blazeman dubbed himself the "ALS Warrior Poet" and brought his battle to the big island of Hawaii on October 15th that year, where he became the first person with ALS to complete the Ironman World Championships. It was his last race. In 2006, a number of athletes, inspired by Jon's 2005 efforts, rolled across the finish line in Hawaii in honor of Jon and his battle against ALS. In 2007, the Blazeman Foundation for ALS expanded Team Blazeman, comprised of "Blazeman Warriors" who have committed to raising awareness and funding a search for a cure for ALS..."So  Others May Live."