Local Tri-athletes Compete In Whistler Iron Man Challenge In Support Of Grand River Hospital Foundation

By: Thomas Hagey - KwNow Local News
| Published 08/19/2019

Local Tri-Athletes Launch Go Fund Me Campaign For GRH Foundation
Local Tri-Athletes Launch Go Fund Me Campaign For GRH Foundation

The Three P's Of Community Giving: Passion, Personal Achievement and Philanthropy

Passion, Personal Achievement and Philanthropy - What A Concept!

Grand River Hospital: Doing More with Less 24/7/365

If you or a loved one has ever spent time in hospital, you’ll know what it’s like to put your faith and trust in the hands of others. Healthcare at every level, is truly a calling. Because when it gets right down to the nitty gritty there is nothing glamorous about being on call, in the moment, and having someone relying on you—completely.

It’s at times like this we need to understand the importance of our hospital safety net, which isn’t perfect by any means, but it works hard, passionately, professionally to deliver health care services often in the face of financial short falls and most recently, government cutbacks. This team of individuals is required and expected to deliver MORE with LESS—and they’re doing it 24/7/365.

Whether it’s serious illness, critical or non critical surgery and care, or the results of incidental battle wounds growing up human, it must be apparent that a vibrant, well-funded hospital in a perpetual state of readiness should make us all donors, or donors-to-be. We can all be proud to claim ownership and responsibility to enable this amazing institution to ACT when called upon.

Iron Man For Grand River Hospital

Recently, a group of local achievement-driven individuals decided to put their personal mettle and spirit to the test in a display of brawn, grit and courage (possibly—insanity) by participating in a little challenge called The Iron Man. (Once popular in the middle ages under a different title –Trial by Ordeal.) While not everyone who works out arrives at this crazy crossroad (a combination of showing-off and what was I thinking?), this particular group decided to make this challenge more than just about their own personal best.

Limitless Performance

The idea was hatched or perhaps we should say the challenge was posed at the Kitchener workout club Limitless Performance; a Kitchener business founded and operated by Adam and Michelle de Jong. Its very name is dripping with sweat and optimism…but there’s a catch. When the student is ready, both the teacher and the challenge appear. Things were ripe for Mitchell Blaine, Executive VP at JLL, SW Ontario , Bo Gedja, co-founder of Victoria Street Market, Dave Aston, MHBC Planning, and Darryl King, Director of Sales, at JMP Solutions. But readiness or fitness to compete was still somewhat in question. They were entering uncharted territory…limitless performance was still an abstract concept to the would-be tri-athletes.

The Limitless Performance workout club stays in the loop for anything and everything workout and personal challenge related. The Iron Man event was to be held in Whistler B.C. It’s a wonderful backdrop but it takes extensive training, months ahead, and no fooling around.

The De Jong’s suggested the challenge and the small above group of business people stepped forward. It’s hard to back out once you’ve committed. But the challenge is intensely daunting.

I’m Going To Do WHAT?

So, here’s what’s rolling around in the back of their heads, as co-workers, family and significant others brag about what they are about to do:

So, I’m going to SWIM to Breslau from Kitchener, BICYCLE the equivalent of here to Toronto over Whistler's rolling terrain, then RUN from west Kitchener to Wellesley over the same mountainous ground. It’s swimming, biking and running like never before. Pain and pleasure in perfect harmony with Nature—or not! :)

But Anyway…

All the participants are seasoned professionals, successful in their own right … principled as well. They didn’t want to sign up strictly for the GLORY ONLY … however, they were open to, I WILL, IF YOU WILL. It’s not only well serving but a powerful motivator amongst friends. The only thing they were lacking at this point was a CAUSE beyond Glory-be-to-ME.

Raising The Stakes …

Anyone who knows Mitch Blaine of JLL Southwestern Ontario, knows he’s a raise-the-stakes kind of guy—in any situation. And so, for paticipational insurance he set up a Go Fund Me page. The extra incentive makes it harder to back out of the deal. Bo Gedja went along with the idea believing that a Go Fund Me page for Grand River Hospital would be a great fit. It’s about health, wellness, recovery and philanthropy. It was the missing link to make community first the focus of their campaign.

The fundraising page brought the rest of the Limitless Triathlon team into the fold. It was a no-brainer. Each team member began appealing to family, friends, business colleagues and associates to participate in a full blown, self enriching, philanthropic cause. The Half Iron Man challenge for Grand River Hospital was LIVE…and their social media appeals for pledges inspired a great many believers to show their generosity. The pledges rolled in… and there was no turning back.

Self Doubt

Make no mistake, SELF DOUBT, the six-headed-hydra of DEFEAT is no myth. You can’t train a little bit and go and compete or complete a Half Iron Man. It involves a near endless supply of determination and stamina-on-demand so when the body pleads STOP, the MIND screams FORGE ON!

After three months of extensive training they acquired the physical and mental readiness to compete. They boarded a jet and arrived at Whistler on Thursday, leaving them three days to prepare emotionally. Partying was not on the schedule. That would have to wait.

Sink or Swim

Sunday came and as planned, they dove into the chilly waters along with an ocean of other hopefuls. The backdrop was mountainous, magnificent and magical. It was a shocking wet and wild start, each stage morphing into the next, with thousands of reasons all around to keep going. But ultimately, you can’t lose when everybody WINS. It’s the simple truth about philanthropy when teamed up with the competitive spirit.

Getting It DONE!

The Iron Man app was amazingly accurate. It enabled family, friends and all those supporters pledge-lings and well-wishers to follow each competitor their entire journey—every step, every stroke, every grueling rotational continuance. It was everything the training process had promised.

The Right Cause …

The entire journey lasted a week. But one day before the team was to return home, the Blaine’s 6-year-old son, Nixon, was admitted to Grand River Hospital with a concussion following a football camp accident. The care he received at GRH was what you would hope for considering he was only 6. It was still triage, that’s the system we have. But the process was caring, sensitive, and take-no-chances thorough.

The Blaine’s took a red eye flight back that evening and arrived in the morning.

There was no question now that the more than $10,000 raised by the campaign was going to the right cause, the right institution.

WIN/WIN - A Cause Greater Than Ourselves

The Limitless Tri-athletes all finished the Half Iron Man course. Some sooner than others but the day’s journey left each of them with a deep sense of accomplishment … and the knowledge that there are issues and causes far greater than our own personal gain.

Well done--everyone! Your hospitals and community thank you.

Left to right: Holding the cheque for $10,100 are: Foundation's Stephen Swatridge and Paul Amaral, Adam de Jong - Limitless Performance, Bo Gedja Victoria Street Market, Betty Bax - Foundation, Mitchell Blaine - Executive Vice President JLL Southwestern Ontario, Shelley Paddick - Special Events GRHF.

Iron Man For Grand River Hospital Fundraiser, Left to right: Dave Aston - MHBC Planning, Bo Gedja - Victoria Street Market, Darryl King - JMP Solutions, Adam de Jong - Limitless performance, Mitchell Blaine Executive VP JLL Southwestern Ontario

Adam & Michelle de Jong - Limitless Performance

Are You Interested In Organizing a Fundraiser Of Your Own?

If you or your group are interested in a philanthropic initiative to help our local hospital, get in touch with the foundation today. They always need the support and will always appreciate it. Contact us, too, at KwNow ... we'll help tell the community about it!