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Greetings Blazeman Warriors and Supporters!

 

MaryAnn New Headshot

Well, hear we are...yet another May has arrived. It has been eight years since Jon passed away on the 27th of this month, ironically May is also ALS Awareness Month. This is a time for us that is a reminder of what transpired that May several years ago. I think Jon would be pleased at the accomplishments of his foundation. We do know he did not expect it to last longer than a couple years. Well Jon, a lot of blood, sweat and tears later...it has.

 

Every time we speak with a friend or family member of a pALS (person with ALS) and they ask what would be the best thing they can do to support that person...the answer to us is simple.  Be with them on those tough days right till the end...Jon witnessed the fading away of family and friends and many others do also...being alone is the worse thing for anyone, let alone with ALS...I can't stress that enough...

 

I wrote the above 2 paragraphs a year ago. Our feelings have not changed a bit.

 

I like to remember Jon as he was in this picture...it was one of his favorites as he stood at the door of his condo in San Diego.

                                             

Please take a moment on May 27th at 8:30PM and give a shout out of FREEDOM! And if the spirit moves you...go out for ice cream as we do that day...Jon's favorite!

 

There are lots of things going on with foundation...our trade marking is almost complete.  We also have a road race back for Jon's 10th anniversary...The Blazeman Run at Aldrich Mansion on June 14th.  More information on that below in the newsletter. We hope to see some of you there. Also,check out our website. The scroll was just changed reflecting that May is ALS month. You will see some pALS honored by showing their pictures.

 

Many athletes continue to request Jon's number 179 at their races. Please continue to do that as it is a great opportunity to share the story and talk about ALS. Ironman is honoring Jon this 10th anniversary year of his race in Kona. More on that below. For us, 10 yrs ago this month, we were coming to grips with a diagnosis we never expected. That, along with the War on ALS Jon immediately started and his opportunity to go to Kona...in many ways got us all through those early days.

 

We are happy to report that the BMF Cycle events made our fundraising goal this year! Every dollar raised goes directly into the research escrow accounts. Thank you to all the hosts again this year! Please visit www.cycleforals.com for specifics.

 

Thank you all for your continued support. We could not do this without you.

 

Fondly,

Mary Ann

Jon's mom

From the Battlefields

 

April 4th took us to the Greater Hartford 1/4 Marathon with race director Kelly Burns Gallagher. The race, as always was a sell out!
Thank you Kelly so much for your continued support of the BMF!
  

 

  



Keeping you up with
Andrea Lytle Peet's Blog... and her Team Drea Team!!! Her support of the BMF is amazing with new team members coming on board every week. Andrea has the support of so many friends...we are totally in awe of the support she is receiving. We look forward to meeting her and Dave at our race where she will wear #179!!!

 

Below is Team Drea's new summer tee...terrific color and the best message!  

 




On May 3rd, Bob and I traveled to Greenwich, CT to be with the Mac Angels...for Claire's repeats to benefit Mac Angels...Bob and I met
Deb and Barry Sopinsky, who presented the BMF with a most generous donation!! Barry organizes the Death Tour Ride in Colorado to benefit ALS. Barry lost his dad to ALS and had been a huge supporter in the quest for finding a cure! Thanks Barry and Deb!!!

 

 

 

 

 


 
 
Coming up on June 28th in Louisiana! The 3rd Annual Iron Horse Triathlon, benefiting the Blazeman Foundation for ALS. Hosted by the Leonard Family, Clay and David Sr...this race is always a sell out!

 

Iron Horse Triathlon Race Start.

 

 

 

TRIMANIA EXPO...

Bob and I attended TRI-MANIA Boston the end of March where the BMF was the official charity of both DC and Boston events...thank you Mark Walter! We met many athletes and happily spent a few minutes with Dave McGillivray! Also, a big Thank you to Mike Reilly for speaking on behalf of the BMF in DC!!! Thanks also to Landry's Bikes and Tri360 for hosting the pre expo evening!

With Dave McGillivray at the expo...

 

 

Mike Reilly at the TRIMANIA BMF event at Tri360 in DC...Thanks Mike and Tri360!!!

 

A huge congratulations to BMF supporter Chrissie Wellington on her marriage to Tom Lowe on May 2nd! Bob and I wish them both many years of happiness. Chrissie's support of Jon's foundation will be with us always.

 

 

A Big Thank you to the City Bikes Ironman 70.3 Miami  for their continued support of the BMF...this year that have increased that support by giving a portion of the Corporate Challenge registrations to the BMF...their official charity partner. Thanks Wilber Anderson and team...we love being your charity partner...our history is long and committed!


Reflections on the Boston Marathon 2015 by Blazeman Warrior Jenny Hansen...


Reflections on the Boston Marathon 2015...running for the Blazeman Foundation for ALS...

In her own words...

I am ecstatic with my time of 4:26:29! I ended up averaging just over 10 minute miles which, given the conditions, is about as good as I could have hoped for. 

 
The first 11 miles flew by as if they were nothing. 
 
From mile 11 to about 17 I started wondering where in the world my mom was . . . at the end of the race I learned that her plan to bike the side roads didn't work out as anticipated because she couldn't keep up with me (me being then speed demon that I am). 
 
From miles 17 to 21 I embraced the hills of Newton with miserably tight/cold quads, but running nonetheless. My pace slowed considerably on the uphill (womp womp) but I seized recovery at every flat or downhill that I got. The last of the hills in Newton is known as Heartbreak Hill (I don't know why . . . maybe because all the girls break the boys' hearts when we pass them then?). I looked down at my watch to check my pace and how my overall time was looking when I actually noticed my heart rate. It was 179 bpm. I shouldn't be surprised by this coincidental inspiration but seeing Jon's Kona number as my heart rate during the final push of the hardest part of the course gave me chills (and no, it wasn' t because I was cold).  
 
From mile 21 to 22 I thought solely about Jon and Nancy. My legs felt pretty heavy at this point but I have learned that the best way to get through that is to get through it faster, so I started to pick my pace up again to make up the time I had lost in the hills. 
 
I don't remember any of the last 4 miles but I know that it felt like forever! I kept on asking myself, "Ummm, ok where is the next mile marker?" At this point the GPS on my watch had stopped working so all I had was my total time and weeks of training to "feel out" what my pace was and where I could push myself to...having it be just the road and me (and the thousands of other runners . . . but I digress) was oddly liberating. It forced me to take an inventory of my body and I had mental conversations in which I gave my left knee express permission to stop bugging me with a little tweak that I had been feeling for a few miles.
 
At mile 25 I stopped to take off my pink vest and moved my bib number to my Blazeman Jersey. I originally wasn't planning on doing this, but I couldn't finish without showing my Blazeman pride as much as possible. My hands were pretty frozen and fumbling around with the safety pins took some time, but I wouldn't have had it any other way. The last 1.2 miles were so loud both sides of the street were packed 5 or 6 deep. I turned left onto the famous Boylston Street where I laid eyes on the finish line. To be honest, it was farther than I had anticipated. Then I found myself talking to myself in my head saying, "SHUT UP! Jon and Nancy would give anything to run this far!!!" And that was that. I picked up my knees and got to work, waving to the crowd and soaking it all in. In no time, the finish line was in front of me, where I then lay down and did the signature Blazeman Log Roll for ALS awareness. As good as it felt to lie down and get off my feet; it felt even better to get up, taking my stand for ALS.  
Remembering Don Young

 
Don (pictured on left) was diagnosed with ALS in 2012 at age 48. Pictured with him is his good friend, Brent Bieshaar, an Xterra competitor and supporter of the BMF.  

 

Don chronicled his illness in a blog and following his passing on April 18th, his 51st birthday...a date he chose. 

 

Don also wrote his own obituary which is included in his blog...chronicling his travels post diagnosis...living life to its fullest. Don chose when to find his FREEDOM...our thoughts are with his family and friends as they grieve the loss of this wonderful man...

 

The ALS Community also has lost another friend. Monica Mazzocco Zucker...just 2 years ago this past March her husband Pete Zucker passed away from ALS. Monica had an infectious smile and was the picture of fitness, competing in Xterra and Triathlons for many years. She died quite suddenly at home on March 30th at age 48 leaving two young sons. Monica carried on her husband's foundation "For Pete's Sake" working to create ALS awareness and fundraise for ALS research. Our hearts go out her family, especially those 2 young boys.

 

  


  The Blazeman Run at Aldrich Mansion!

 

This year being the 10th anniversary of both Jon's diagnosis and his Kona race at the World Championships we are thrilled to have a race in his name.

 

This event is a 5K, 10K and kids run at a beautiful setting in Warwick, Rhode Island...right on Narragansett Bay, an incrediblesite for  a run!

 

                                         

This event is put on by TRIMOM PRODUCTIONS   

and organized by Joe Goddard and Al Lamothe!

The proceeds from this event will benefit the Blazeman Foundation for ALS community projects fund...we hope to see many of you there!!

Research Update
Wake forest logo  

A letter of thanks for all the BMF has done to support Dr. Carol Milligan's research on ALS.  The support for Dr. Milligan and her research team allows them to continue the important research that will hopefully one day lead to a cure of ALS.

  

Stay tuned for more updates. Our next newsletter will update you all on Brandeis' ALS research. Please check out  www.waronals.org for all our research endeavors!

Ironman? Offers #179 for Competitors! 

   

 

As we celebrate Jon's life on his 10th anniversary year...Ironman, through the Ironman Foundation has put forth a program to highlight Jon's contribution in the War on ALS?

 

One month after his death in 2007, IRONMAN retired Blais' bib, #179-the number he had worn at the 2005 race-at all IRONMAN events. Since then athletes have requested Jon's Kona number at WTC and non Ironman events. If the number is not requested for a race #179 is retired for that race that year. Today, that process has been formalized to help further promote Blazeman's message and raise funds through the Ironman Foundation.

 

Wear #179 

Triathletes now have the opportunity to apply to wear bib #179 at any IRONMAN race. Whether an athlete hopes to raise awareness for ALS or is simply inspired by the man behind the number, wearing Blazeman's bib is an honor for those hoping to bring some meaning to their IRONMAN journey. (See below for more details on how to apply.)

 

Jon Blais is a timeless icon for IRONMAN athletes. His memory represents hope, awareness and a passion for life. So in his own words, "Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal. This is it...your life. Face your fears and live your dreams."


Over 30 people have requested to wear Jon's number so far, with races as far away as South Africa, Turkey, Australia, and Kuwait.

 

It is great to know that Jon and his legacy continue to impact people around the world.  


Learn More and Apply Here!

A Warm Welcome to our newest Warriors!

  

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

 

Tom "Frosty" Frost
Dany Seiler
Martha Sylvestre

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!


Gallery
  
Thank you so much for sharing your highlights and favorite moments!
But don't stop now! Please keep sending your photos of the many events coming!


Bob (bdad) and Phil Gormley ( MAC ANGELS) at May 3rd Hill Repeats for MAC Angels...showing how two ALS non profits work together!
 
Blazeman Warrior,Jeff Galvin, at the 2015 Boston Marathon
 
Team Drea at CoDel half Marathon
 
Tom Frost with a 2nd place podium finish at the 2015 Wretham Duathlon.

Tim Smit rolling a PR wearing #179
 
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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."