On November 3, UTG CEO Eric Dykes participated in the Ironman Florida event to help kids attend Camp TBI, a camp that offers a safe and fun experience for children and young adults between the ages of 8 and 21 with traumatic brain injury. During the grueling 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and 26.2 mile run, Eric was inspired by the generous support of so many clients, employees, friends and family. This network of generosity was able to raise an amazing $8,055 to help send more kids to camp.
Last week, Eric was able to present this check at a special luncheon. Attendees included our local UTG employees, Volunteers for Camp TBI, Board Members for Walton Foundation (operators of Camp TBI), and one of our clients, SRP.
SRP has enabled us to come into the Augusta market and be successful, and they have been generous supporters of our Camp TBI fund raisers. The luncheon was a really neat convergence of all of these groups behind a common cause of supporting these special kids.
“Support of those around us is invaluable,” said Eric. “The motto of Ironman is ‘Anything is possible’, and while it may be true that anything is possible on our own, all I know after testing my limits like this is that it sure is a lot easier with support from those around us.”
“I had incredible support from friends and family. With over 20 hours per week training and sessions before dawn and after dark, understanding and encouragement from those close to me were critical to the process. On race day the people around me helped me keep going when I was not sure if I could: my family (who was there), friends (some where there but so many were following along over www.ironman.com and social media) and fellow racers.”
“There are two very poignant examples of this support from family and friends. First, at mile 13 of the run I really started to struggle. At that time I saw my family in the crowd and they were all so excited and supportive. Right before I left them for the final 13 mile loop my son ran up to me and said “Dad, just remember this, ‘Finish Strong!’” That was my training motto and hearing those words from him made me realize that I was going to finish.
“Then, with about 6 miles left, my body was done. My stomach was a wreck and my legs were shot. A friend who I had trained with caught up with me. It was dark and lonely out there and he stayed with me the rest of the race. I wanted so badly to stop moving forward but Dan wouldn’t hear of it. Again, I have no idea if I would have been able to keep moving forward for that last hour but I do know that support from a fiend like that made it easier.”
“Another key area of this race was technical support. In preparing for the Ironman, I had so many technical questions. Having support from the right trainers and equipment experts is a must to complete this distance triathlon. Having Allen Heaton of Kinetix Training as my bike fitter helped me with the most gear-intensive portion of the race. It is amazing how much the proper equipment and fitting affect your performance in biking. Similarly, The Big Peach Running Company in Suwanee, GA was very helpful with my running. They spent a lot of time watching me run in countless pairs of shoes to find the right fit. Last but not least, the coaches at Swim Atlanta have helped me to transform my swimming from a frantic and tiring effort to a semblance of a repeatable and efficient stroke.”
“Finally, I enjoyed the support of fellow athletes. I was lucky enough this year to meet some people who were doing this same event. These folks were terrific during training providing accountability, encouragement, advice, etc. In the days, hours, and even minutes before the race, it was really encouraging to have friends that were undertaking the same challenge with you.”
“I have emerged from this experience with a great understanding of how precise, careful planning and the right kind of support can help you reach a major and seemingly insurmountable goal. So many of the kids that attend the camp have goals that might seem commonplace or easy to you and me. Meanwhile, they may spend the better part of a summer working hard to meet those seemingly simple goals. The volunteers and staff at Camp TBI are the support network that help these kids achieve new heights in inspirational ways. Looking back on this experience and the donations that poured in, I feel an immense amount of pride and satisfaction after helping to raise awareness about the camp.”
A special thanks to every one of you that supported this effort.