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Mike Swyt's War on ALS
On Sunday, August 24 I will be competing in the 2008 Accenture Chicago Triathlon. The race consists of a 1.5km swim, 40km bike, 10km run. While my goal of finishing the triathlon is ambitious (given my inability to run far or fast without something chasing me), my ultimate goal is to support The Blazeman Foundation for ALS.

Last year, while watching the Hawaii Ironman, I was inspired by a TV segment on Jon "Blazeman" Blais. Jon, a teacher and lifelong triathlete, had a dream to complete an Ironman. In May of 2005, at the age of 33, Jon was given a death sentence in the form of ALS. Despite the news, Jon accepted his diagnosis and decided to do incredible things with it. In October 2005, he became the first and the only person with ALS to finish an Ironman triathlon (2.4 mi swim, 112 mi bike, 26.2 mi run). By 2006, ALS had Jon in a wheelchair and in May of 2007, Jon passed away. While fighting ALS, Jon started the Blazeman Foundation to help find a cure for and ultimately defeat ALS. Since that time, Jon’s family and a team of multi-sport athletes have supported his cause by raising the awareness of and funds for ALS. I am proud to count myself as one of them, a Blazeman Warrior. This video documents Jon’s story. If you do one thing today, please take a moment to watch this short video. I promise you will be inspired.

What is ALS? Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive degenerative disease that attacks the motor neurons, or nerve cells, in the brain and spinal cord. Motor neurons control the movement of voluntary muscles. Death of the motor neurons makes it impossible for the brain to control muscles or signal them to move. As the muscles atrophy, it results in weakness and loss of coordination. ALS is unpreventable, untreatable and incurable. ALS attacks otherwise healthy adults randomly and spontaneously. Once diagnosed, people with ALS have an average life expectancy of 2 – 5 years. Additional information can be found at www.alsa.org.

This disease hits especially close to home for my wife Jaclyn and I. In 1995, Jaclyn’s father Jack was diagnosed with PLS (Primary lateral sclerosis), which is a form ALS. Like ALS, PLS is a rare neuromuscular disease characterized by progressive muscle weakness in the voluntary muscles. For Jack and others suffering of PLS, there is currently no effective cure. He has lost much of his ability speak and to walk alone, often requiring a wheelchair or scooter. Jack has been living with PLS for 13 years now, and although limited in mobility enjoys each day in life to the fullest. His spirit and attitude is an inspiration to many.

Your support can help us in finding a cure for ALS. I am asking for donations to help exceed my fundraising goal of $5000. Any amount will help, as will passing along Jon's story. The Blazeman Foundation for ALS is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and all contributions are tax deductible.

I appreciate your supporting my efforts in the War on ALS.

Cheers,
Mike
Total Donations Collected:$5,974.00
Goal: $5,000
$0 119% $5,000
Goal
Despite 21 million(plus) people dying from ALS since 1869, there remains still no meaningful treatment or cure for this disease. Jon and ALS patients everywhere are basically offered the same treatment options as Lou Gehrig in 1939. Without raising awareness and funding, ALS will not receive the research efforts necessary to find a cure and will continue to strike down every person who is diagnosed with ALS...Join Jon, "fight the good fight"...Believe there will be a cure, and "others will live", bmom and bdad...jon's mom and dad.

"People do not follow titles, they follow courage. If you will just lead them onto the battlefield, they will follow you and so will I, unite us... unite the clans." - Braveheart

Blazeman Foundation for ALS Mission Statement:
1.) Raise awareness about ALS by leveraging the energy and compassion of the multi-sport community and
2.) Raise funds to "fund" research to find a cure for ALS. "so others may live."

"Since 1869, twenty one plus million people have suffered and then died from ALS." There have been no survivors.
"Believe...Pick a stronger word than Hope...Cure" -blazeman. We strive to hear words not yet spoken, "I AM A ALS SURVIVOR."

Contributor Amount Comment
Julie Prince $75.00 "Thanks Mike, this is so awesome that you are doing this, and for such a great cause!!!! Good Luck, we love you! Julie and Justin"
Karen Gottschalk $50.00 "Love Ya, Mike!!!! Gary and Karen"
Billy Nainiger Hidden "Try not to hurt yourself. Good luck!"
Ronson Nguyen $250.00 "Good Luck Mike!"
Donna Marie Jendritza $50.00 "Go Mike!"
Bill Marek $25.00 "Go Mike!"
Sriram Vasudevan $50.00 "It's awesome that your are doing this .... Good luck Mike ! May the force be with you."
Jared Klinghoffer $250.00 "Good luck! Have Jac send pictures if you get wheel-barrowed across the finish line."
Brent Leslie $75.00 "Best of luck - Brent, Kate and Julia Leslie"
Chris Daniels Hidden "Nice work Swyt! Glad to hear you're doing this. Don't forget your orange floaties big guy!"
Pam Miske $25.00 "Mike, Good Luck! We plan on being there to watch you log roll over the finish line! Pam"
Anonymous $50.00 "Best wishes Mike! You've already done the hard part by making this incredible commitment to this wonderful cause. -- Patrick & Andrea Hynes"
Vincent Liu $251.00 "Good luck! - Fran & Vinnie"
Barb Costigan $25.00 "Good luck Mike. You are truly showing your wonderful colors and expression of love for the Prince family. We pray for Jack every day. He lives his life with dignity and courage. We are so proud of all of you! Love, Barb and Bill"
Bruce & Sheila Poland $50.00 "Way to Go Mike...We are proud of you! Love ya, Bruce & Sheila"
greg pesek $50.00 "good luck!!"
Jeff Manno $100.00 "Good Luck! it will be a very rewarding experience especially since you have a connection to the cause."
James Phillippe $100.00 "Good luck Mike! James & Angie Phillippe"
Kevin Gady Hidden "Good Luck Mike! "
Leticia Espina $100.00 "Mike, You're awesome for taking this on! Everyone at work will be rooting for you!! Letty"
Matt Bachtel $75.00 "Elementary Backstroke Swyt, save your energy for the run, good luck!"
Joseph Walko $50.00 "Yo dude! Good luck!"
Michael Zuker $500.00 "Wow Mikey, go get 'em! You friend, Zuker"
Joe Hemler $50.00 "Easy does it on the transition from bike to run. Good luck buddy!"
Joe Suster $50.00 "Good luck."
Jimmy Swyt $100.00 "Run Fatboy Run!"
Pat & Bob Drapcho $50.00 "Mike, I know how proud your in-laws are of you. You must be one terrific person and I ask God tha t you reach this goal and more."
Jennifer Prince $100.00 "Mike, we are so proud of you and know how hard you've trained for this event. We love you, Jen & Ryan"
Gregston Chu $179.00 "Good luck Mike! Thank you for reminding me to live life. Gregston and Hiroko."
Michael King $25.00 "Good luck Mike. Can't wait to see the pictures!"
Francis Brown $58.00 "Just to bring it on home...stay classy"
Thomas Baltis $50.00 "Mike, good luck!!!"
Meredith Swanson $50.00 "Good luck this weekend!"
Diane Roten $100.00 "Mike: Good luck and God bless! We'll be with you in spirit wishing you water-free goggles, air in your tires and wings on your feet! Diane and Rick"
Paul Kostansek $25.00 "Good Luck Mike! "
Clyde & Denise Bowman $50.00 "Mike, Thank you for doing this for such a wonderful cause. We are sure you did well. Clyde and Denise Bowman"

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