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Targeting Cancer: Triathlon team pushes their limits to support cancer patients

(Photo courtesy Team Endure)

Training for a triathlon is no easy task. Fighting cancer isn’t easy either. Members of Team Endure are focused on both—training for endurance events while raising money to support local cancer survivors through Oregon Cancer Foundation (OCF).

“The first year I did a triathlon, I was really concerned about just completing the race. Now that I’m confident that I can cross the finish line, I’m working to really improve my performance,” says Dan Johnson, one of 12 Team Endure members who will participate in the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival in Sunriver, June 22-24, 2018.

Every team member has a story

Dan joined Team Endure in 2016 to get in shape and support OCF, because he’s seen the toll cancer can take. He lost his dad to cancer about four years ago.

“My father had carcinoid cancer. It’s a rare form of cancer that is slow-growing, so while we had time to spend together, I saw what he went through,” Dan says. “I appreciate that this team is raising funds to help support cancer survivors in our community through financial assistance, but also through educational programs.”

Karen Gates is new to Team Endure and she, too, has seen cancer impact the lives of people close to her. Her brother was recently diagnosed with cancer.

“We look outside of ourselves by raising money for Oregon Cancer Foundation,” Karen says. “I tell people who donate, ‘You’re going to be helping patients by paying for their gas, or their food or their bills. So, it’s really important.”

All fitness levels welcome

Unlike other triathlon training groups, Team Endure welcomes people of all fitness levels, from self-proclaimed couch potatoes to seasoned athletes.

“At the beginning of the season, I tell the team, ‘Give me time. I’ll get you there,’” says Team Endure organizer and trainer Mike Carbaugh, who believes that the toughest challenges can be conquered by working together.

“We teach them how to train and what to do, and they grow and blossom, and they begin to understand that ‘I can do this.’”

“When you train with a group, it motivates you. You can go further than you thought that you could,” Karen says. “I couldn’t do this on my own, but we train for six months with wonderful coaches and we’re going into this upcoming race prepared.”

Making a difference

Training for a triathlon is strenuous, there’s no doubt about that, but when the team crosses the finish line, they say it will be worth every ounce of effort.

“I started this to honor my father, to set an example for my kids to take care of one’s self and to support the Oregon Cancer Foundation,” says Dan. “But I’ve come back for the team. Everyone succeeds. It’s really extraordinary.”

Since 2014, Team Endure has raised over $56,000 for Oregon Cancer Foundation. To learn more about the team and to make a donation, click here.

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