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-blazeman

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Assembles At The 2006 Ford Ironman 70.3 World Championships
Clearwater, Florida

Team Blazeman's ALS War Room
(Click Here)

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

Hi Steve,

Team Blazeman I will be partcipating in the 70.3 Clearwater race in November. I was wondering if it would be possible if I could get race number 179 for that event. My good friend Jon Blais (A.K.A. Blazeman) completed Kona last year as competitor 179, and that number has special meaning to him and his supporters. Blazeman has the terminal disease ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) but is planning on being in Clearwater for the race. I am doing this race in his honor and would love to be able to race under the same number he finished Kona with.

Anything you could do to help out with this would be greatly appreciated. See you in November!

John Wolski

Team Blazeman


Karen Duffy Recaps An Amazing Weekend

Saturday, November 11, 2006

7:00a.m.
We arrived at the Hilton Clearwater Beach Resort to join thousands at the first ever Ironman World Championship 70.3. Of course our reason for being here was to meet the Blazeman, Jon Blais, and his parents. After so many months of phone calls, emails, and letters Brian would at last meet the man who inspired him to make a difference. We watched as 1800 triathletes lined the beach to begin the 1.2 mile swim/56 mile bike/13.1 mile run and the energy was incredible. As we made our way to the hotel where the Blais family was we were filled with butterflies---Mike whistled up to the balcony that had the War on ALS banner hanging and Bob saw us. He made his way down to greet us, followed shortly by Maryann and Jon. We hugged tightly, laughed, and got our butterflies out and then joined them for breakfast. As we got acquainted Maryann pulled out TEAM BLAZEMAN uniforms for the boys! They were thrilled.

9:00a.m.
The Blais and Duffy families made our way down the street toward the finish line. As we walked, athletes were transitioning from bike to run and the air was electric with excitement. One woman who saw us from across the street yelled to Blazeman what an inspiration he is and how he is making a difference. Bob introduced Brian & Kevin as the first ALS Warriors (something he would continue to do all day long)----very cool. Maryann & Bob graciously included our family in everything. They got us into the backstage area of the finish line; we met the president of Ironman, media people, NBC crew, and countless others. As the first pro was getting closer we all moved to the finish line. BUT---not before being interviewed by Greg Welch himself on IronmanLive!
  Mike and I watched from the fence as Brian & Kevin joined Jon, Bob, & Maryann at the end of the finish line. In less than four hours the pros were finishing! Many greet Jon after they caught their breath and the boys saw, and met triathletes that they’ve watched on TV and DVDs. John Wolski, a TEAM BLAZEMAN athlete, had the honor of wearing #179 (Jon’s bib number in Kona) and he ran holding a sign that said “NO ALS.” He log rolled across the finish line, as did "Battleship" Bob Mitera, and at least two other women----all for ALS and the Blazeman. The energy, the music, the look on Jon’s face and the faces of Brian & Kevin was something I will never forget.

12:30p.m.
The sun got pretty hot and Jon was roasting. We walked with the Blais family to get some ice cream---3 for Jon! We then accompanied them to the hotel, talked with John Wolski for awhile and said goodbye for a few hours. The Blaises returned to their room for rest for Jon. We went back to the race action and saw Rudy Garcia—an 18 year old double amputee, and Sara Reinertsen—single amputee, approach the finish. We then headed back to our hotel to shower and relax for a couple hours. As soon as we got into the room the boys tried on their TEAM BLAZEMAN gear and their smiles were huge.

5:00p.m.
We headed back to Clearwater for the awards dinner. We stopped at the Ironman Expo where each of us bought something to remind us of this incredible day: a cycling jersey for Mike, a hat for Brian, a shirt for Kevin, and even a shirt for me. As we were paying Maryann called to let us know that they had a table reserved in the V.I.P. section for us! We made the long walk/run down the beach to join probably 3500 or more people for dinner. We were up in the front with the winners and v.i.p.s. After dinner the age group awards began. There was a break in the presentation when Mike Riley (“the voice of Ironman”) introduced the video from Kona 2005 about Jon. While we watched the video they carried Jon onto the stage. The lights came back on and there was the Blazeman---center stage. Everyone was on their feet cheering, crying, and showing love to this great man. Mike Riley interviewed Jon for a few minutes and all stood again as he was carried back off the stage to his wheelchair. As the evening progressed we watched hundreds of athletes approach Jon---an awesome sight. The compilation video showed one of the log roll finishes and was amazing.

8:30p.m.
At the finish of the video it was time to leave; time to say goodbye. It was agonizing for the four of us. We knew the day would have to end but we didn’t want it to. Duffys and Blaises hugged and cried. None of us wanted to leave. Mike helped to get Jon from the chair at the table into the beach wheelchair and then we started walking. Each of us kept turning around---the most wonderful sight of a huge gathering around the Blazeman as he was making his way up the beach. I can’t imagine how long it took them because so many people wanted to talk to the three of them. The four of us cried like babies as we walked on the beach; we drove to the hotel in silence. As we got there Brian really lost it. Mike explained to him that just as Jon touched our lives in a huge way today---Brian & Kevin touched him. None of us said it but we all were thinking that we know that the next time we see him he’ll be worse. This awful disease of ALS will continue to attack his body---but not his mind or spirit. It’s our mission to get the word out; to grow awareness and educate the world about ALS, to raise the money to find a cure and the time is now. Today was a day I will remember for the rest of my life. Our lives are better and richer because of Jon Blais, and Bob & Maryann…and all of the other ALS Warriors and our TEAM BLAZEMAN teammates. The war is on…...

Sunday, November 12, 2006
Mike,

Our family had the most incredible day yesterday with the Blazeman and Bob and Maryann. The tribute that you gave to Jon last night was beautiful. Thank you for all you have done to help further our War on ALS. Thank you for taking the time to include Jon into the program last night, for making #179 a coveted bib number to help others. Yes, we need to make a difference in this world and for Ironman to recognize that is wonderful. The whole day is one that my boys, and Mike and I, will never forget.

Thank you,
Karen Duffy

* * * * * * *

Karen,

It was my honor! I’ve experienced many great moments and emotional memories to last a lifetime at Ironmans but Saturday night will never be equaled. When I was sitting with Jon on the stage it was as if we were in a closed room with no one else present. Looking into his eyes showed me his passion and hope that one day there will be a cure. I just hope through our words that message was portrayed to the athletes. And I will never forget it also.

If you could do me a favor and keep me updated on Jon I would appreciate it. Hopefully I’ll see you at a race next season.

Take Care,
Mike Reilly


Saturday, November 11th, 2006


Team Blazeman Checkin' in with IM's Blaire LaHaye

Brad Diggans... Tampa, FL

Mike Reilly (San Diego)

General Henning Updating My War On ALS...

Team Blazeman on the Set of Ironman "Live" in Welch's Corner...
     


Yup, Triple Blazeman...

Mike, West Virginian 's Do What...
     
Platoon Commander Banjo-Doggie Wolski... "TRIATHLETES WHO CARE" (Click Here)

John Wolski
Debbie Ragals
Kevin and Brian Duffy
Special "K" & Blazeman Jr.


"Thou Shall Not Go Quietly Into Thy Night."
-Dylan Thomas
     
            "Rudy" Need I Say More...                                     The "Vigorman" Log-Rolled...
     

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Blazeman,

RE: 5430 Sports… more proud warriors!!! Team Blazeman is growing and just wait until this spring and summer when we are all out battling for ALS-TDF with our ALS Warrior Poet colors and rolling across finish lines.

"Their gonna know it's a movement."
Arlo Guthrie

Talk to ya soon,

John Wolski

     
Coveting Competitor #179
Blazeman The ALS Warrior Poet

Ironmanlife: Looking Back At Clearwater by: Kevin Mackinnon

I wrote about Jon Blais in our Clearwater coverage, but I need to add one very important footnote to having the man who managed to finish in Kona last year, despite the fact that he has ALS, at the Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3.At the awards ceremony for the event it was announced that number 179, the number that Blais wore for his historic Kona finish, will be reserved for an inspirational athlete at all Ironman races in the future. It was a touching moment … a chance for us all to see what a difference Blais has made in the fight against ALS, often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s disease. We saw a lot of log rolls dedicated to Blais at the finish line in Clearwater, and I’m guessing we’ll see a lot more in the future. If you have a chance, check out the ALS Warrior Poet’s website to see how you can help the cause. www.alswarriorpoet.com Jon, we're thinking of you.


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