Monday, August 10, 2009

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This article appeared in the Mansfield News Journal today. I thought I would share it with all of you. Photo and story are from www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com
August 10, 2009
Livestrong honors fundraiser from Shelby
By JAMI KINTON
News Journal
SHELBY -- One Shelby man is about to take a ride he won't soon forget.
After more than two years of hard work and dedication, Jack Gray, 61, will participate Oct. 25 in his first Livestrong Challenge Ride for the Roses.
The honor is only awarded to those who raise more than $10,000 in a single year for the cancer foundation.
But that's not all.
Riding alongside the "roses" will be record-breaking pro cyclist and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, foundation founder and Tour de France champion seven consecutive years.
"I wanted to do the Ride for the Roses since I started fundraising," Gray said. "This is a huge honor for me."
Gray, who directed the Shelby band for 30 years, was diagnosed in October 2004 with stage four prostate cancer.
After surgery, two months of radiation and three years of chemotherapy, Gray is now coming up on his second-year being cancer-free.
When treatments ended in 2007, Gray decided to do his first Livestrong cycling challenge in Philadelphia. The organization donates millions each year to cancer research initiatives and hospitals across the country.
"Many years ago, before children, I was teaching and I got interested in cycling," Gray said. "I did some serious road cycling and probably rode until the kids were born. Then life got busy and riding got away from me."
When cancer later took a toll on his body, Gray said he got back into cycling to regain strength.
After a friend suggested he read one of Armstrong's books, Gray said he was impressed and inspired.
Then visited the Livestrong Web site.
"I found out about the Livestrong challenge and felt this was a way to give back to everyone who helped me through this," he said.
In order to raise money, Gray has sold T-shirts, held raffles, mailed letters and created a bike rally in Shelby.
In just under three years, Gray has raised nearly $29,000.
"Everyone's life has been touched by cancer," he said. "Every minute, someone dies from cancer."
This month, Gray will participate in the Philadelphia challenge for the third time, then travel to Austin, Texas, in October for the Ride for the Roses.
"I don't ride, but I'm here for support," his wife Chris said. "Wherever he is, I'm there."
Chris said many participants raise money in teams.
"They can't believe he's raised all this himself," she said.
"This is just my way of payin' it forward," Gray said. "This is something I can do to really help the foundation help others."

To donate to Jack Gray's fund, visit www.livestrong.org or mail a check made out to "Livestrong" to Gray at 162 Poplar St., Shelby, OH, 44875.

2 comments:

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

That is a great story. What an inspiring man! And I love that he's going to bike alongside Lance Armstrong.

sara said...

I love the idea that this fella had once been really into cycling, fell away from it for a long time, & then came back to it after the physical trauma of cancer.