Monday, April 14, 2008

The Triathlete Spirit--This Kid Rocks

I don't currently have time to do a proper report on the MS150, but I saw this little dude (who has already raised $8400 to fight MS) and wanted to share his story with you rather than maintain radio silence. Even at 10, this guy embodies the triathlete spirit that we see in our blogger friends who use their own health to fight diseases like cancer and MS. Donate if you can.


Ten year-old cyclist dedicates BP MS 150 to ill mother
Small in stature, big in heart

* * * *

In the truly Texas-sized peloton the BP MS 150 has become, it is easy to get lost in the crowd. Still, one tiny rider wearing an ExxonMobil jersey might be conspicuous. But don't let Cian McConnell's 4-3 3/4 , 60-pound frame fool you. This young fellow has been around the block a few times.

"I'm grown up in age," he said, "just not in size."

Indeed, Cian (pronounced Key-an) recently turned the big one-oh. And, at 10, they let you try the MS 150 as long as a parent rides along.

* * *

Move over, Lance

At 7, when the family was living in Singapore, Cian completed his first triathlon — a half-mile swim, a 20-mile bike ride and a 5K run. He also had started religiously watching the Tour de France on TV and decided Lance Armstrong might be a good cyclist to emulate. On a training ride, Cian had gotten way ahead of his parents — Doug was having mechanical problems — only to crash after roaring down a steep ascent.

A park ranger who happened upon Cian noticed his bloodied arm and knee and suggested they go find some medical help. As his dad recounts the story, Cian looked at the man like he was crazy. "He told the ranger," Doug said, " 'I'm not going back to the car. Lance Armstrong wouldn't quit, would he?' "

Good news and then bad

About that time, [his mother] Helen began suffering brutal headaches. At first, the doctors dismissed them as migraines. Then one day, when [his father] Doug was on assignment in Nigeria, he got a call. Helen had become lost and disoriented and couldn't find her way home. The doctors looked deeper and found a tumor. She had brain cancer.

* * *

Chance to help someone

An aggressive, cutting-edge regimen of twice-daily chemotherapy pills plus one arduous visit to M.D. Anderson Cancer Center each week have kept Helen reasonably ambulatory, but when she speaks her words often get jumbled up and, Cian admits, casting his soft blue eyes downward, "Sometimes I can't understand what she's saying. It makes me really sad."

Said Doug: "He's having a tough time with it. But we made the decision to not keep anything from him. His response has been, 'We'll do the best we can to help her out.' Now that he's finally old enough to get on his bike (in the MS 150), he's like, 'Let's get on with it and go help somebody.' "

* * *

"I've wanted to do this ride since I was 7," [Cian] admits. "I'm ready. I'm nervous, but I'm also confident. I just hope my dad will help me and I can at least finish."

Doug laughed.

"I'll be drafting off him," he said. "Cian won't let me get in front."


Fe-lady said...

Great story...hope you had a good time too!

Unknown said...

What a great story!

Supalinds said...

That is a great story. Can't wait to hear your race report!

Alili said...

What an awesome story. Thanks for sharing:)