In this fifth annual cancer-awareness issue of Endurance Magazine we hope inspire you with the stories of runners, cyclists and triathletes who are doing amazing things to help fight cancer and help others who are fighting it right now. Featured on our cover is the amazing Greg Sousa, a veteran of more than 30 triathlons. On Father’s Day 2012, Sousa rose early to bike the 25 miles from his Durham home to Jordan Lake, where he completed a 1-mile open-water swim. Four days later, on a work trip to Alabama, he experienced a grand mal seizure – his first and only symptom of a malignant mass inside his brain. If that symptom had struck while Sousa was a half-mile offshore, his life could have been over.
Surgery to remove the tumor was scheduled right away, and Sousa and his wife, a registered nurse and an athlete herself, started digging for stories of people who’d survived what they were suddenly facing. Only a few months later, with permission and support from his doctors at Duke University’s Preston Robert Tisch Brain Cancer Center, Sousa started working out again. Since then, Sousa has participated in many events and has created his own fundraising event called the Badousa Brain Bike Bonanza. Read more about Sousa in our feature story this month.
Sousa’s comeback and willingness to help others was inspired by the great Terry Fox, a person I consider to be not only the first ultra-marathoner but the first person to harness the inspiration of endurance sports to help others. Fox, who had lost his leg to cancer, set out to run across Canada in 1980 on a prosthetic leg meant only for walking, as the “running leg” prosthetic we know today hadn’t yet been invented. Fox hoped to inspire every Canadian to contribute just one dollar to help support research that would end cancer.
Fox nearly made it. He covered 3,339 miles in 143 days before a recurrence of cancer cut short his journey and eventually his life. Fox raised over $1.7 million during his run, and inspired so many others to continue giving after he was forced to stop, eventually raising over $23 million.
Fox’s legacy lives on in people like Sousa as well as people like Michael Hernandez, who has not fought a battle with cancer but has been inspired by others to help find a cure. It also lives on in children like John Hagen, who is fighting (and winning!) a battle with cancer right now. Hagen’s determination has inspired his parents, Rich and Kathy Hagen of the Charlotte area, to train, log miles and compete in races like the St. Jude Memphis Marathon Weekend, the marquee event for the St. Jude Heroes program. Read more about Hernandez and the Hagens in this issue. Don’t forget to also check out the update on last year’s cover story Jessica Ekstrom and Headbands of Hope.
Of course, we feature our typical array of great articles on exercise and nutrition as well. Are carbs really bad for you? Are you getting enough protein? Too much fat? This month, Carolinas Healthcare System offers some great advice on what you need to know about carbs, protein and fat in their article “Eating for Endurance.” And we wouldn’t leave you hanging without a great recipe. This month Brandon McDearis gives us an awesome tabbouleh recipe that’s super nutritious and light and refreshing. It’s the perfect summer dish loaded with healthy foods like bulgar and fresh parsley, which contains many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Fun fact: Just 2 tablespoons of parsley contains over 150 percent of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin K, which helps prevent calcium buildup in our tissues that can cause conditions such as cardiovascular disease and strokes.
Don’t forget to check out our other great articles on new gear, cycling safety tips, and much more. Most importantly, get inspired by our feature stories and sign up for a race that raises money to help people in their fight with cancer.