Chicago Tri Team 2015 – A Family

Family is everything. No matter the obstacles you face, your family is the one constant variable in the ever changing landscape of life. I want to tell you about an awesome person that I am lucky to be able to call family. My cousin Claire.

We used to live near each other when I lived in the Chicago area way back when. However, through the circumstances of life Claire stayed in Chicago and my parents and I ended up in Pittsburgh. Unfortunately, we do not get to see each other very often. The long distance between us did not stop her from helping BallouSkies. Over the past two years Claire and a group of her amazing friends have ran in the Chicago Triathlon and numerous other events to help spread awareness and raise funds for BallouSkies. These great individuals, that I have never met, have taken up the cause and given their time to join BallouSkies in our never ending battle for better treatments for DMD sufferers. If this charity has accomplished anything, it has atleast brought caring people together and reintroduced me to the goodness in people that I had started to lose faith in.

And now if I may have your attention ladies and gentlemen! Cue drum roll. I would like to introduce the 2015 Ballou Skies Chicago Tri Team! Hailing from the Windy City I’d like to introduce you to:

  • Nate Hirsch
  • Caitlin Polz
  • Joe Gancarz
  • Claire Young (My awesome cousin!)
  • Katie Gear
  • Dan Gancarz
  • Dana Hirsch
  • Bob Gear
  • Dave Kozicki
  • Keegan Korab
  • Ian McCaffrey
  • Amy Kiraly

Just thinking about all these people lining up at the start lline wearing bright blue BallouSkies racing gear makes me smile. They came together as a family and decided to help someone they have only heard about. If only the entire world acted as they did, we would all be better off. This awesome group has been very busy spreading our message of hope. They have ran in other races. Such as:

  • Big Ten 10k
  • Ironman 70.3 Steelhead
  • Chicago Triathlon
  • Chicago Half Marathon
  • And many others

These fine athletes trained for the races by holding a weekly workout group. They would bike through the Chicago suburbs, swim in the frigid waters of Lake Michigan, and had a fun time together. For them to do all of that to assist Ballou Skies is amazing and I am forever greatful.

I do want to specifically thank my cousin Claire and her drive to help a family member in need. I also need to thank Katie Gear for her work in organizing the Tri Team this year. Through numerous emails to myself and my father, Katie did what needed to be done make the whole thing possible. Through their generous efforts the Chicago Tri Team has raised $7,400 over the past two years. Again, this impressive total goes directly to live saving research! You guys are truly awesome and rest assured your efforts have impacted more lives than you could imagine.

I started this post talking about family. I do want to end on that topic as well. This group of friends became a family in running these races for a common goal. Through these efforts they became apart of the Ballou Skies family. Since the first days of Ballou Skies my family has grown exponentially. With this ever growing family I can face any challenge. I have the strength in numbers to literally push the grey clouds of hardship aside and reveal the tranquil blue skies that lay beyond.

Thank you again members of the Chicago Tri Team. I hope to personally thank you all in person some day. Without you, our mission would fail. Without family nothing would be possible. With family any obstacles can be overcome.


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