Last December, Texas based pro triathlete Amy Marsh, a four-time Ironman and two-time Challenge Iron distance winner, went to see her doctor for a series of blood tests, a yearly routine for her during each off-season as she and her husband, Brandon, spend a few months each year training at altitude in Flagstaff, Arizona. However, this time abnormalities were noticed and upon further tests, she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a blood and bone marrow cancer, and began chemotherapy treatment immediately.
Jump forward four months and Amy has completed two rounds of chemotherapy and is about to begin the next phase of her treatment, a Stem Cell Transplant, in Houston at MD Anderson Cancer Center.
This past Saturday, April 11th, a charity bike ride, produced by Valhalla Sports Group, took place in Magnolia at VR Cycling Studio, a popular training grounds for local triathletes and cyclists, in an effort to raise funds for Amy and Brandon to alleviate the cost of her medical expenses.
Dubbed the Fearless Fundo (pronounced “fun dough”), it was a themed poker ride, where awards were given to the individuals or teams who collected the best five-card poker hand. Cards were collected at designated aid stations spaced throughout the 84-mile circuit, which used many of the same roads that Ironman Texas participants will be faced with at next month’s event.
Our own Dr. Keith Johnson (in the yellow shirt in the photo at the right) participated in the event as a member of “Team Hungarian.” Team members also included SROSM sponsored pro-triathlete Balazs Csoke, and accomplished Ironman competitors Greg Gibbons (in photo with Dr. Johnson at right) and Bryan Alsdorf. Emily Finanger, one of SROSM’s physical therapists and a close friend of Amy, helped with the event’s operations. Her husband, also an accomplished tri-athlete, was there to hand out the poker cards at one of the stations.
Following the ride, participants enjoyed food donated by SROSM, and took part in a fundraiser raffle and auction benefitting Amy and Brandon. Many of the items raffled where donated by local businesses, and SROSM offered two five-pack sessions on the Alter-G treadmill, a popular piece of equipment for endurance athletes. Items for the auction were donated by a handful of Amy and Brandon’s pro triathlete peers including fellow Ironman winners, Chris McDonald, Scott Neydeli, Kelly Williamson and SROSM’s very own Balazs Csoke.
The ride was well attended with approximately 100 riders, some flying in from out of state in order to show their support for the Marshes.
Even Lance Armstrong showed his support for the Austin-based couple by forming a team and completing the route.