ALS Warrior PoetALS WARRIOR POET
-blazeman

BLAZEMAN'S DIARY
DAILY WAR ON ALS
January 1st, 2007 & Beyond

Today's Date is

The Finish Line in Kona Hawaii



August, 2008

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warrior Dave Galli

Swim Across the English Channel
August, 2008

Hi my name is Dave Galli and I live in St. Louis, Missouri.

During the summer of 2008, I plan to swim across the English Channel. The Channel is 21 miles across, however most swimmers travel between 25 and 30 miles due to the currents.

I am swimming to raise money for ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. Please help me in my adventure to swim from England to France and if you have any questions or comments send me an email.

Please pass my website on to as many people as possible. Thanks for all your support! Peace, Love, and Lightning Bugs.



Swimthechannel.com
(click here)

"Only those who will risk going too far
can possibly find out how far they can go."
-T.S. Eliot


Saturday, November 10th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Will Assemble At The 2007 Ford Ironman 70.3 World Championships
Clearwater, Florida


October 6th-7th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warrior Philip Lee "Peelee" Clark

Peelee's Virginia Double Iron Triathlon Quest
To Make A Difference Racing to save lives!!!


(click here for the web site)

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August 3rd, 2007

Karen,

Thank you for the update. Things on my end are coming along quite well. So far I have recieved $705 in sponsors from my friends and I am in the process of putting together a silent auction. It will be held at Handlebars Bike Store in Buffalo, NY on my birthday, August 3rd. This auction is already on its way to a big sucess. I have attached the letter that I will sending out to some of the triathlon companies. Feel free to forward it to others, that would be greatly appreciated.

Please give my regards to the Blazeman. My brother and I think of him quite often.

Cheers!
Philip Lee Clark


September 30th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With Team Duffy

I will be racing with bib #179 at the South Carolina Half Ironman Sept 30th. I will wear it with honor and I know it will give me strength throughout the day!!

Mike Duffy



A Celebration Of Life
To Be Held August 31st, 2007 At 6:30 PM
SR. Of St. Dorothy
Monkey Wrench Lane
Bristol, Rhode Island


July 22nd, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Ryan Van Praet



Friday July 20th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With Tri-State Trek

A 270 mile, 3-day bike ride from Boston to New York, the Trek is about overcoming challenges and obstacles once thought not possible. It is about inspiring yourself and inspiring others. It is about pushing beyond your comfort zones physically, mentally and emotionally to raise money and awareness for ALS.


(Click Here to Meet Mat & His ALS Warriors)

Thursday July 19th, 2007

Advocacy Alert: House Subcommittee Passes ALS Registry Act

We are extremely pleased to report that this morning, the House Energy and Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Health unanimously passed the ALS Registry Act (HR 2295). The bill is now cleared to move forward in the House and next will head to the full Energy and Commerce Committee. This is a tremendous victory and is one of the most critical steps in the legislative process, as most bills introduced in Congress never make it “through Subcommittee.”

During this morning’s session, Subcommittee Members repeatedly stressed the importance of establishing a national ALS registry in the fight for a treatment and cure and spoke of the personal connections many have developed with family and constituents who have been touched by the disease. Members also praised the efforts of The ALS Association and advocates for helping to lead the fight for the bill and for our continued outreach to Congress over the past two years. Since the ALS Registry Act did not specify funding levels for the registry beyond Fiscal Year 2008, the Subcommittee also agreed to authorize $16 million per year in FY 2009-2012 in addition to $25 million in Fiscal Year 2008.

The Subcommittee’s action reflects the strong bipartisan support generated by ALS Association Chapters and advocates from across the country. A total of 261 House Members – well over a majority – have signed on in support of the bill! The Advocacy Department will continue to work closely with the Committee as the bill moves forward.

In the meantime, it is important that Chapters and advocates continue to focus outreach on the Senate. Although we are now closer than ever before to passing the ALS Registry Act, we need to build additional support in the Senate. Currently nearly 40 Senators have cosponsored the ALS Registry Act (S. 1382) and we encourage Chapters and advocates to contact their Senators to ask them to cosponsor this critical bill.

Sample letters you can send to your Senators are available in the Advocacy Action Center of our website, here. A list of those Senators who have and have not cosponsored the bill also can be found in the Advocacy Action Center here .

Thank you to everyone who has contacted their Members of Congress. Your outreach is making a difference! We need you to continue to stay involved in our efforts and together we can pass the ALS Registry Act this year!

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact the Advocacy Department at advocacy@alsa-national.org or 1-877-444-ALSA.


July 9th, 2007

It is with great sadness that I greet you. My cousin, David Barker, died Friday afternoon. As you may know, David has been suffering with ALS for approximately sixteen long years. He fought a long hard fight and was surrounded by a loving family. I would ask that you hold our family in your prayers during this time of sadness. But this is also a time of celebrating his life that he lived so valiantly.

When I began this endeavor to join in the War on ALS, I had no idea that my cousin and Jon Blais wouldn't be here. Like I've said, My goal is to do something in life that makes a difference, as it is with many people. I wish I had more to offer, but I'm determined to use what I do have to the best of my ability.

I am in the process of diverting the fund-raising from the ALS Therapy Development Institute to the Blazeman Foundation. The goal of the foundation is to raise $250,000. You can log on at http://www.active.com/donate/teamblazeman, select my name and donate as you fell led.

You can find out more on my website, www.CoonbottomTriClub.com . To become a member of the Tri Club, donate $25.00 to The Blazeman Foundation, under my name. Same with sponsorship. Thanks to all of you that have helped along the way. The fight is not over, please consider joining ranks with us.

Dave Knight


June 24th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warriors Cheryl Rose & John Fischer

I received my Blazeman Warrior packet today. Thank you very much – I am just packing for IM CDA so I will be sure to bring it all along. I wanted to make sure you knew that I am not setting up a fundraising page on Active since I already have one with the Janus Charity Challenge for IM CDA. It would be just a duplicate so it makes sense just to continue with the Janus page through the end of the week. I hope that is alright.

I have raised over $3,500 so far but still have a goal of $5,000 so I have some work to do this week.

I will not be able to wear the Blazeman attire during the race in CDA since I am required to wear the CEO Challenge that I am signed up for also. I will though make sure to wear the shirt around the village and also wear my hat and sport the great tattoos during the race. The good news is I will be sporting the Blazemen attire for the rest of my races this summer which includes IM Canada.

Anyway, I just wanted to follow up.

Thanks!
Cheryl Iseberg


June 24th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warriors Team Ryan

OC BLAZEMAN LONG DISTANCE TRIATHLON 140.6
Huntington Beach, California


(Click Here)

Inspired by Jon Blais, the Ryan Family will team up with Walt's Wharf Restaurant to raise money to fight ALS, MS, and to aid Challenged Athletes. They will attempt to complete The OC BLAZEMAN individually, along with team members from Walt's Wharf. They plan to raise $15,000 as a team and welcome your donations.

Dear BlazeDad, This article came out this morning in our local paper. They always make at least one mistake and of course they did. The reporter was confused about the quote about the wheelchair and assumed Jon did the race again in a chair . Would have been wonderful if only that was the case. At least most of it is right! And the word is getting out! I was sorry to miss your call this morning, we are getting people signing up right and left!

I hope we have enough t shirts !

Love to you both,
Strength and Honor,
Your Blazeman Warrior Family in Huntington Beach,
Dana, John , Keith and Kyle Ryan

p.s. Dave Galli is here and ready!


(Click Here)

Dear Blazeman Warriors,

First, thank you to all that were able to contribute to the 1st annual OC Blazeman! The event was a huge success and could not have been undertaken if not for the support our family received from everyone.

We have already heard from quite a few of you (via e-mail or at the event) about how much you enjoyed the event and that only adds to how special this was for us. We wanted to do something that continues to tell the Jon Blais story, spread awareness, raise some money, and we feel that we accomplished that. Even though this may have seemed like a small scale thing, we know that those involved will continue to tell the story, others will hear it and get inspired, and this will continue to change the lives of many. Just like the movie Pay it Forward, if all of you tell a few people about this event and what it meant to you, they will become inspired and re-tell the story to others and the War on ALS will continue on a larger and larger scale.

My younger brother Kyle is in the process of making a DVD slideshow with music and pictures (he's talented and I saw a bit of it last night and cried for about 10 minutes) from the event. I'm not sure how we're going to go about getting it out to everyone that wants a copy but I thought you'd all like to know that there will be something available! He's going to put it on Youtube.com so we'll keep you posted on when that goes on-line.

We have about 300 pictures from the event that we'll get on-line ASAP...

I'm in the process of writing a person re-cap of the beginning brainstorm phases of the OC Blazeman, to the work that went into it, to the happenings before, during, and after the event. So keep an eye out for that too.

Lastly, I wanted to share a few quick stories from the event that my family and everyone involved thought were truly amazing and full of Blazeman spirit.

Strength and honor,
Keith, Kyle, John, and Dana Ryan

Talmadge Atkins - local Challenged Athlete with a "complex seizure disorder, complicated with neurological problems diagnosed as cerebral palsy" www.teamtalmadge.com comes out with family to participate in the OC Blazeman.

Dave Galli- ALS Warrior from Ohio, drove out to California to be a part of the OC Blazeman! Had an incredible attitude throughout the long day and was a pleasure to meet. Also swimming the English Channel in 2008 for ALS www.swimthechannel.com.

Charlie Gilmore- from Fountain Valley, CA. Works for Toyota, wanted to do an Ironman but lacked confidence after running struggles past the half marathon distance. Teamed up with my dad and myself for the entire marathon. Despite the usual late-stage Ironman struggles, we maintained Charlie's idea of a 3 minute run + 1 minute plan that got us all to the finish in just under 13:00 for the day. Charlie was able to run in with his young son and roll across the line for the Blazeman. Charlie Gilmore, you are an Ironman!

Scott Richardson - from San Diego, CA - longtime home of the Blazeman himself. Scott only heard about the OC Blazeman the Monday before the event, had never been on his bike for longer than 50 miles, but was so inspired after hearing the Jon Blais story that in true Blazeman spirit he knew he had to do something bigger than himself. Alone for most of the day, Scott pushed his mental and physical limits into the night and was greeted at the finish line with praise, cheers, applause, and admiration from the few family and friends still out there at 10:30 PM. You are an Ironman Scott, and a true Blazeman warrior.

Hi all,

Here is the slideshow my brother Kyle put together the last couple of days.

Enjoy!
Strength and honor,
Keith Ryan



Sunday, June 10th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS

Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warrior VIGORMAN & TRI Columbia Association
Eagleman70.3
(Click Here)

USAT has named The EagleMan Ironman 70.3 Triathlon to be:

The Official 2008 USAT Elite Long Course National Championship

I/CTA, have officially "RETIRED" the Global BlazeMan Coordinates of 1-7-9 for ALL CTA events from now and forever.

Only that Most Special and Excellent Human will be offered that Race Number, like at all IMAN races worldwide, that person being committed to doing their part to raise awareness and provoke Passion in and on the...WAR On ALS.

VIGO

Blazeman Warrior Brian Breen will be the first in the 70.3 World Series of races to wear #179.

Do you know someone who has learned to overcome obstacles and became stronger through hard work and determination, inspires others to become a better person, leads by example, and has a passion for life?

If so, Blazeman Spirit Award Nominations are being accepted! Submit your nomination so that this person can be recognized.

Information can also be found on the Eagleman Ironman 70.3 page of the Columbia Triathlon website.

* * * * * * *

This was taken by a friend of mine. This is the sun rise and rays of Light I noted from JON!!

Vigo

To View All Of The Photos Of Eagleman Weekend Click View Photos Button

* * * * * * *

All,

This week-end was the official start of something really special, it was the start of a war that we shall win together. At the Warrior tent I looked at people all week-end long staring at the TV watching Jon and Brian at Kona and cry & cry...how could you not. I am in Brian's same position as I did not physically spend long hours in preparation for this race, so I wanted to take the opportunity to thank Kevin who did an outstanding job and everybody else involved at the tent, cheering and racing.

The race day was incredible as Vigo made a point to introduce our team of warriors (Vigo, sei magico!) and we proudly went on the battlefield. I personally crushed any expectations I had for my first triathlon as I suffered in silence, especially the last 3 miles of the run, but Jon pushed me through the finish line and I enjoyed every minute of it. Towards the end of the race, I caught myself smiling and crying for Jon and I am convinced that Jon was proud of me. I cannot even count all the log rolls as there were many of them, but as Brian pointed out in his email earlier, the race ended on a log roll!! I gave high fives to every warrior I saw during the race and everybody seemed genuily passionate about being a Warrior.

I feel that we are definitely headed the right direction with the Foundation, but this war is not going to end quickly and we have to take it to the distance and I am very positive that we will as a team. I am extremely proud of being a warrior for a close friend of mine who is in my mind every day I wake up.

Fab,
ALS WARRIOR

* * * * * * *

Of course I want to support you guys and support Jon. I ran with this Go Blazeman! sticker on my number in Kona this year..such an amazing story and he was a huge inspiration for me. I have attatched a few pics, some of them not all that great...but the roll is in there!

Take care and thanks,
Desiree

Blazedad,

I am so flattered to receive an email from you! I can't say how much your words mean...the 2005 production of Jon's finish was so inspiring to me, I will never be able to go back to Kona without thinking about HIM and his family.

I am sure Blazeman is watching over all of us and seeing his foundation...and his roll! grow beneath him.

Thank you and may peace be with you,
Desiree

       

* * * * * * *

This weekend was truly a life changing experience for me. There wasn't a moment from Friday till Sunday night that I didn't feel Jon's presence. I loved meeting Jon's family, friends and supporters, hearing their stories and sharing a passion. when people ask me about the weekend, the race is secondary, I always start talking about the people and experiences first. When they ask about the race, I say "it was so well run and I enjoyed it tremendously but you have to hear what I learned about Jon and how he brought all of us together..."

Kevin was over the top phenomenal with his presentation and preparation, Jennifer was so strong, Karen is an absolute pleasure and inspiration, Fabrice has such passion and conviction. Brian is the most humble rockstar, Mia warmed the crowds with her smile and rocked the race, Deb and her husband are the cutest couple with an outpouring of love, your granddaughter was adorable and a real trooper, Andrew who won the award is so special in many ways, Vig was over the top. I have never been to a race with so much heart involved, I have never felt a personal touch the way I did this weekend, I could go on and on every warrior amazed me.

I know inside all of us that it wasn't the race's finish line we were working to roll across, that was easy. (even Fabrice made it look easy, I still can't believe it was his first) There is a much greater finish line and we won't stop rolling till we get there!

With great strength and honor,
Debbie Regals

* * * * * * *

Team,

This weekend was "AMAZING"... (as "The Bachelor" would say... / inside joke with Major David Roselle, Kevin, and I... we'll explain later) I'm sure I had expectations, but at this point I can't recall what they were...because what actually ocurred just plain blew me away.

The Team Blazeman tent/exhibit was incredible. It drew people in, they continued to come and watch the video, take the fliers, and sign up to race with the uniforms. The Blazeman Spirit Award was fantastic. Jennifer's speech was emotional, and inspirational, and she delivered it beautifully... straight from the heart. Through Jennifer, the entire group of people watching the Blazeman Spirit Award got to hear how special Jon was, what he meant to his family, to his friends, and to his students.

On top of that... the gentleman who received the award was truly a worthy individual... I was extremely impressed with his story. He raced with the Blazeman uniform on Sunday... And hung out with us later in the day...wearing the Blazeman "Companion" T-shirt. He is a great guy... and we'd be lucky to have him on the team.

Out on the race course I saw many Blazeman Warrior uniforms worn by people whom had just signed up with us the day before. There is so much more to tell... I could go on for a very long time.

Last but not least...
Long after Desiree Ficker rolled...
Long after Major David Roselle rolled...
Long after every Team Blazeman member rolled...
After the Awards...
After the crowd was completely gone...
Even after the Team Blazeman tent was packed up...
A woman came lumbering down the chute towards the finish line, some 9-10 hours after the first wave went out... There were maybe 3 friends of her's there clapping for her... along with Jennifer, Jason, Fabrice, and me... But she didn't notice us... she stared straight ahead to the finish line.... And when she got to it, she dropped down...and rolled across....as the last finisher...and last roller of the day.

We couldn't believe it. I gave her a card and asked that she contact us and send the picture of her rolling so we could put it on the website, so I hope she does. She said that Jon had truly impacted her life... she was a cancer survivor and she wanted to honor Jon for inspiring her.

This was just the first race, and it was a resounding success. What we can accomplish is unlimited.

Personally, I am not one of the people who've worked tirelessly to organize and drive Team Blazeman. So to those who have truly worked their tails off in these past 5-6 months...
THANK YOU FOR YOUR HARD WORK.
This success of this weekend was also an enormous tribute to you. It inspired the heck outta me... and I can't wait to do it again.

At the dinner on Saturday night... Deborah Marciano stated that one of Jon's legacies was to bring together this group of incredible and special people, who would have otherwise never met. And it's so true. Not only did the Triathlon world receive major notice of Team Blazeman's arrival this weekend... but as a group of people, we really hit it off.

Just another gift from Jon... and he will continue to work through us.

Love you all
Breen

P.S. Vigo... EXCELLENT RACE!! Thank you for everything you did this weekend... you have enormous heart and it shows in everything you do. Now what are you reading this email for?? Step away from the computer and find a couch or a bed... after all the energy you expelled this weekend and leading up to it... you need to go hibernate for a week!



Saturday, June 9th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With Team Howard
Attleboro, Massachusetts Youth Extreme Triathlon



June 3rd, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warrior Matty Reed
2008 Olympic hopeful defends his 2006 Escape from Alcatraz title
as a “Blazeman Warrior” in "Blazeman's War on ALS

I'm very excited to be supporting the Blazeman foundation to help fight the War On ALS.

Matt ReedI met a man, a very unlucky but courageous man, Jon Blais. He has made a huge impact in my life making me realize how lucky we are to be here on earth. Jon was blunt with me and told me straight up when I asked him whether he would go to Hawaii to race again in 2007. He said "I'll be DEAD. I have a death sentence. I have ALS." I stood there speechless. He was in his chair with little mobility and just stared at me. That's when I realized this is a terrible disease.

From that moment, I wanted to use my talents to help fight ALS. I want to help Jon Blais raise awareness and funds so we can beat this disease. I take his strength and courage with me every time I take the starting line. It makes my career that much more passionate to race for the Blazeman Foundation.


- Matty Reed, 2008 Olympic Hopeful, Escape from Alcatraz Winner and a figher against ALS

(Click Here)

Matt Reed, Accenture Escape From Alcatraz Triathlon Champion, Makes Bay- Area Appearance To Help Wage War On ALS
Click Here For Press Release

Sunday, June 3, 2007 (SF Chronicle)
Thousands run, swim and bike in Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon

Reed said he was happy with a "fourth place finish on a bad day," and rolled sideways across the finish line in honor of Jon Blais, the inspiring age group triathlete who fought amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) until he died in late May. "I did the Blazeman Roll in Jon's honor," said Reed, who donates much of his time, money and charitable works to carry on Blais's fight against ALS.
(Click Here)

Dear Kelly,

I am sending this e-mail for Matty to you since I don't have his e-mail address.

Matty, Bob and I are so appreciative of the beautiful roll you did Sunday in Jon's honor. Words cannot express are appreciation of everything you are doing.

After going through your web site snd seeing the pictures of you with your child, I know you must be a great father and husband. Your bio attests to that.

You and Jon have many things in common-he too did his first triathlon at age 14. He would have been a great father and husband. He spoke of his regret that he would not have the opportunity to achieve this before he died. He would have sacrificed for a woman he loved what you did for Kellly.

We both wish you continued success and health and thank you for carrying on Jon's memory. I remember so clearly that day at the Westchester Tri when you two met-he told you quite bluntly what the remainder of his life did not have in store.

We have always been so proud of our son and you are giving us many more memories to cherish. Please stay in touch. We will be following your career and wish you much success.

Fondly.
Mary Ann Blais

* * * * * * *

I saw Matt Reed in the john prior to the race and told him "win it for the Blazeman"-- I guess that wasn't in the cards that day-- but what a day and race. Blazeman was remembered prior to the race w/ a huge roar of 1850 on the boat! Had goosebumps all over-- what an inspiration! Matt was the 1st to roll across the finish line-- I was the 2nd one! Had to do it.

Mitch West

Check out his roll: triathlons.accenture.com/SanFrancisco/tracking/Video.aspx?bib=714

Here's Matt's Roll: triathlons.accenture.com/SanFrancisco/tracking/Video.aspx?bib=1

Here's Lee Mambuca's Roll: triathlons.accenture.com/SanFrancisco/tracking/Video.aspx?bib=1


May 28th - July 15th, 2007

There are also many entries in the Blazeman's Guest Book. Click Here

* * * * * * *

June 22, 2007 -- Do your part to fight ALS

It’s been a mere two weeks since the death of triathlon legend Jon Blais, and already I’m worried the multi-sport world has moved on too quickly. If it were up to me, the story of his life would be the lead on Triathletemag.com for the rest of the year, but we have to cover the news, and Laura Bennett cashing in 200 grand and a hummer is news.

So, I’ve spent plenty of time over the past few weeks wondering how I could better honor the Blazeman, who was twice the writer and ten-times the triathlete that I am. Think about it…the man was diagnosed with ALS and then he decided to do an Ironman. The slogan “Nothing is Impossible” has never been more true. I broke my toe once and I bitched about it for three months.

Brad Culp

Anyway, here’s what I came up with: I want everyone who reads this blog to roll to the finish in their next race. Unless you’re duking it out for the win at your next Ironman, get on the ground and roll your way across the line. It’s the least we can do for a man who motivated scores of triathletes. I know of coach potatoes who decided to do their first Ironman after watching Blais roll down the chute in Kona last year.

And here’s some extra motivation for you: After you roll across the line, donate at least $5 to help fight ALS at www.alswarriorpoet.com. Send me a picture of your finish (brad@triathletemag.com) and I’ll match every donation. I know it’s not much, but I’m a 21-year-old journalist moving to a place I can’t afford.

I’ll do my part. This weekend, I’m racing at the High Cliff Half Ironman in Sherwood, Wisconsin. I hoping to be in the mix for the overall win, but even if I’m caught in a all-out sprint for first, I’ll gladly get on the ground and take second place.

Here are some of my favorite words from the Blazeman, in case you need a little extra motivation to Rock n’ Roll at your next race:

"It doesn't interest me what you do for a living, I want to know what you ache for. It doesn't interest me how old you are, I want to know if you'll risk looking like a fool for love, for your dreams, for the adventure of being alive. I want to know if you can live with failure, both yours and mine and still shout at the edges of a lake, river or mountain, 'Yes, I am a warrior poet'. It doesn't interest me to know where you live or how much money you have, I want to know if you can get up after a night of grief and despair, weary and bruised to the bone and do what need to be done for someone you love. Live more than your neighbors. Unleash yourself upon the world and go places, go now. Giggle, no, laugh and bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are. Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal, this is it, your life. Face your fears and live your dreams. Take it all in, yes, every chance you get, come close. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and truly like the company you keep in the empty moments of your life and still remember me, your friend, the BlazeMan, ALS Warrior Poet."

We love you Jon, we’ll never forget you.
Brad Culp

* * * * * * *

* * * * * * *

Dear Mrs. N-K,

Thank you for the address. It is good that he was finally taken so he is no longer suffering. Even though he died, his footsteps will live on for the war on ALS. I would also be interested in the memorial service. We were just learning about carpe diem in class and I think that Jon was happy with the way he spent his time and the way he affected others.

Sam

* * * * * * *

Hey Bob and Mary Ann,

I jsut read the article that was recently written....i think that is probably one of the best articles on Jon that i've read. It is a perfect synopsis of the journey Jon took since being diagnosed (ok maybe not perfect, as there is still lots to the story, but a very good synopsis).

How are things going down there? Up here we plug away, i think we are a matter of weeks away from my fathers freedom, or we hope so anyhow... He is a fighter, and a stubborn guy, but we pray for his end of pain. It is tough as how do you tell somebody who is completely mentally aware, that they can stop fighting, it is ok? toughy one.

I am a couple weeks out from Ironman Lake Placid, and very eager to blaze through the Adirondacks wearing my Team Blazeman uniform, and meeting Kevin Long. Perhaps meet Kevin Mackinnon and getting more word out on the War.

Talk to you guys later, keep up the fight,
Ryan:)

* * * * * * *

I raced on Sunday in a half Ironman and dedicated my race to Jon. I told myself to appreciate all that I had and all that I can do.

Well I came out of the water and onto my bike and was cycling down the highway when I looked beside me to see who was there but it was only my shadow. I sensed something more and continued to check at my side three times and I finally figured out that Jon was there and saying thank-you. I have had different spiritual encounters on my bike at races before and I truly believe without a doubt that Jon’s spirit was with me.

I continued my race and thought about Jon and as I came to the finish line I rolled across to celebrate Jon’s life!

Thanks,
Christine Suter

* * * * * * *

Mr. & Mrs. Blais and Family,

I had been meaning for some time to write Jon. He touched my life in a very meaningful way a couple of years ago, and I never fully shared with him my gratitude. My sister mentioned to me today that she had learned of Jon's passing, and so I searched the web to find any site where I could contact you and his friends.

I met Jon in May 2005, the week after he had learned of his diagnosis. We were swimming in La Jolla Cove. I was training for my first Ironman race and had the brilliant idea of doing a long swim on my own. Bad idea. I got out to the first marker and realized that there wasn't a soul around me and that I was floating out there in the vastness of the ocean on my own. I lost it and had a panic attack. Some kayakers weren't too far away and came over to my side when they saw I was distressed. Thankfully, Jon and a friend of his were swimming in to shore a few minutes later and I got their attention. I told them I was freaked out and they told me to hang with them as they swam back in. Jon had some paddles on his hands, as his doctor had told him he could swim so long as he had his paddles. He told me of his diagnosis and of the many races he had done. I was completely floored. He then told me how old he was and I remember saying out loud - "I'll be 33 in a couple of weeks." We were the same age. We made it into shore (Jon's talking to me helped me forget the predicament I was in), and I thanked Jon and his friend and left (embarrassed). He and his friend literally saved my life that day, as I surely would never had made it back to shore on my own.

After the swim, I called my sister (a therapist and the best triathlon cheerleader I know) and told her of my swim and of Jon's story. She told me that she had that week watched a TV program on ALS and that research has revealed that ALS disproportionately affects endurance athletes. I thought about Jon a lot that week.

It was several months later (after I completed that darn Ironman in Lake Placid), that I saw the NBC coverage on Jon at the Hawaii Ironman. Needless to say, I was inspired once again. I really wanted to write to him to thank him once again for that swim in La Jolla, but I never got around to it. Shame on me.

When I got to this site today, I saw that Jon died on my birthday. I obviously didn't know him well or for long but I am so grateful to him, not only for having rescued me that May day in 2005 but also for encouraging me and so many other athletes. We're still a relatively small family and he won't soon be forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

God bless,
Jennifer
Dana Point, CA

* * * * * * *

Blazeman:

I checked back to the site frequently, strangely hoping that no news was good news. Hoping the steamroller of support would somehow balance out your pain and allow you to grow old and continue to remind us to live.

You said the completion of the 2005 Ironman Hawaii was 'bittersweet,' appreciating the magnitude of your accomplishment while also understanding it would be your final triathlon.

I stared at the black screen on your website today with the same feeling. You are free from the pain of disease, but I am selfishly angry that we've lost you.

We won't ever know how filthy rich we are with potential until we are robbed of our abilities.

Raise your beer Jon Blais to a life well lived. You listened, taught, fought, acted and got it all on film. For which forever will we be the richer.

Your friend,
Brad
Florida

Stay With Me

Float with me, for I cannot swim.
Walk with me, for I cannot run.
Push with me, for I cannot ride.
But please stay with me, for I can believe.

* * * * * * *

As you may or may not know the fight against ALS has become very personal to me every since I met Jon Blais "Blazeman". It was fate that introduced me to Jon a little over a year and a half ago. It was his spirit, devotion, wit, dedication, strength, charm, determination.....(I could go on and on about him) that continuously educated me, inspired me and led us to become good friends. Please, take a moment and look at his site http://www.alswarriorpoet.com/ Read about Jon, read his poems and his visions, you will be moved. (after entering site, click "Click here for hope") Also, please look at www.waronals.com that has been created by the Blazeman Foundation. All of you know that knowledge is power.

I'll never forget the first time I met Jon, he was so brutally honest about ALS "It's a death sentence" "there aren't any cures" "research money isn't there". I knew so little about ALS and how many it affected. My eyes have been opened and I realize it can happen to anyone, there aren't any cures and it truly is a death sentence. Not for one second did Jon look away and sit idle as his body quickly deteriorated. He fought in many ways, to maintain his strength but most importantly to get ALS on the radar. He has made so many people stand up and take action. Jon made many realize the bigger picture in life. One group that he specifically touched was the lives of hundreds of triathletes. When Jon approached the finish line of the Kona Ironman (after being diagnosed with ALS) he did not run or walk with his arms up high. He got d own and rolled across his last finish line. He did this to show that crossing the finish line of the hardest race wasn't about him, it wasn't for the glory, or the competition. It was his shear determination that got him there and he wanted others to stand up and take notice of what's important in life. I remember what he told me before I raced in Clearwater last year: winning and losing aren't the priorities but it's the bigger picture in life and what we are capable of achieving.

Jon lost his battle with ALS on May 27th - after being diagnosed only two years ago.

This Sunday I will be participating in my first triathlon of the season, a half ironman in Cambridge, MD. I will be racing in a Blazeman uniform and I too will be rolling across the finish line along with many teammates. We now roll in memory of Jon but we do it with hope, honor and strength to continue the fight he started. His fight will not end just because ALS took him from us.

Since meeting Jon I have also come to know a very special woman. Claire Collier, mother of two, also led a very active life and was diagnosed with ALS three and a half years ago. www.friendsofclaire.org And very sadly, one of my mother in-laws dearest friends was recently diagnosed with ALS. Two very special women who probably won't see a cure in their lifetime but with their fight and our help, others can live…

I race not only because I love it but because I CAN. I hope that my participation will raise not only funds but awareness for more research and eventually a cure.

The following link is to my personal fund raising page.

Thank you for reading this letter and any support you may offer is greatly appreciated.

Love,
Debbie

* * * * * * *

Mr. Blais,

I have wanted to send my condolences to you and your family, but have been unable to write until now. As Dave Galli says on his website (www.swimthechannel.com) , even though he never met Jon, he was inspired by Jon at such a deep level - the same is true for me. I know that Jon has not only given me a new perspective on life, but has evoked an amazing change with his War on ALS that will benefit so many. Your son is truly remarkable. I know you will continue to help others, and I will as well, along with all of the growing number of ALS warriors.

I was in a funk all week leading up to the Escape from Alcatraz, but I knew that Jon would not want me to mourn his passing, but continue using multisport as a vehicle to produce change in the lives of others. I felt great pride during the memoriam speech in Jon's honor before the field departed the boat off of Alcatraz Island to begin the Escape. It wa s a very appropriate and moving ode to a great man. I will never forget looking up to the heavens as I jumped off the boat with tears streaming down my face. Though, they were not tears of sadness; knowing Jon was now free of his pain and suffering as I looked up to him I felt his presence, as well as immense pride in knowing that he inspired me to become a better person - my tears were a symbol of what I think Jon was trying to do. Like Brian Breen stated so eloquently, what Jon had was something that cannot be taught. He had the ability to motivate, inspire, and truly teach the important things in life. Jon will always have a special place in my heart. I am his echo - we are all his echoes.

I know that I will see him someday, but as Juba (Djimon Hunsou) says in Gladiator, "but not yet". I know that Jon garnered much inspiration from the film, and I think this quote is telling in its own right. All of us will be with Jon someday, but in the meantime w e have the ability to use our lives to help, inspire, and teach others - just like Jon would want. I will see you soon Jon... but not yet.

Strength and honor,
Keith Ryan

PS My family talked with Matt Reed and his wife this weekend at the Escape from Alcatraz for quite some time. I think it's amazing that one of the most decorated triathletes in the world is so selfless and willing to do so much for the war on ALS. There aren't the many out there, but Reed so totally gets it. He even proudly wore an OC Blazeman t-shirt we gave him up on the podium at the awards ceremony. His wife is going to try and come out to support and maybe put a relay together. Just wanted you to know.

* * * * * * *

Hey Mrs. N-K,

How are things at the middle school this year? It's hard to believe it's already over. It doesn't even seem that long ago that I was in 8th grade on our team.

The other day I heard about Jon's death and I wanted to write to say I'm sorry for his death. He was a good person and I still can't believe that he died. Hopefully there will be a cure soon.

I was also wondering if you had an address for his parents. I want to make a card for them but I don't know the address.

Sincerly,
Samantha Cannon

* * * * * * *

I have followed from a distance ever since watching Ironman 2005. I just was informed today of Jon’s passing. Don’t know what is required to join team Blazeman, but I will not cross a finish line in the future on my feet.

Jon made and will continue to make a difference.

Life is so short.

Jack Keenan
Chicago, Illinois

* * * * * * *

Bob, Maryann & Jennifer:

Jon is a light that will shine forever. We would like to share a reading that we find comforting. - Author Unknown

We Remember Him

At the rising of the sun and at its going down,
We remember him.
At the blowing of the wind and in the chill of winter,
We remember him.
At the opening of buds and in the rebirth of spring,
We remember him.
At the blueness of the skies and in the warmth of summer,
We remember him.
At the rustling of leaves and the beauty of autumn,
We remember him.
At the beginning of the year and when it ends,
We remember him.
As long as we live, he too will live:
for he is a part of us; as we remember him.
When we are weary and in need of strength,
We remember him.
When we are lost and sick at heart,
We remember him.
When we have joys we yearn to share,
We remember him.
When we have decisions that are difficult to make,
We remember him.
When we have achievements that are based on his, We remember him.
As long as we live, he will be with us,
For he is a part of us, as we remember him.

With love and sadness,
Vicki & Cliff

* * * * * * *

Bob & Maryann,

I had no internet connection in the hospital but now that I'm home, I'm reading through all the messages that people are leaving for you. So many emotions, it's amazing. I wanted to call earlier but I'm sure you are still getting inundated so I decided to wait. But I also feel the need to share my thoughts with you. I wrote the following in my Blog on March 28th, 2007 after my last visit with Jon...

Saying goodbye. Think about that act for a second... We say goodbye at many different times during the day, to different people, for different reasons... leaving the house in the morning, hanging up the phone; it's not usually viewed as a particularly terminal gesture.
This past weekend I traveled to Fort Myers to say goodbye to a friend who is dying. He is unable to speak; I will never hear his voice again. Another visit will not be possible; I will never see him again. As I held his atrophied body, feeling all his muscles twitching, I fought back tears and whispered the words I needed him to hear. One would think that it's a blessing to get a chance to "say goodbye" before a loved one is called from this life, but the emotions that swirled within my mind and soul seemed more like a curse.
I love this man - I love him in friendship, for the great times we shared togethe r, for his relentlessness and determination in putting ALS on the map, for all he's accomplished in raising awareness of this evil disease... I love him through and through. And I am losing him.
After lying next to him for a while, hearing his heart beating as he slept, my eyes filled up and tears ran onto his pillow. I felt a storm raging inside of me, and I knew it was time to leave. Kissing him gently on the head, one last time, I told him I loved him and left the room. I then proceeded to break like a crystal vase dropped onto concrete from a second story window. I'll never get all the pieces back together the way they were before I had to endure this - the hardest thing I've ever had to do. I'm back home now, wondering where my sense of closure is. Is it possible to start the grieving process before a person actually dies? Is it right to do so? When will this storm blow over? When will the angels wrap their arms around Jonathan and lift him up a nd away from all his pain and sorrow? Please hear me God, send them soon. My Warrior Poet is weak and weary and needs to rest.

I love your son, he made a difference in my life, he left an indelible impression of strength, honor, determination and courage. He made me laugh at times when no one else could. He left me with so many happy memories. Being a part of the Blazeman Foundation gives me a purpose. Michael and I send our deepest, most sincere sympathies. It goes without saying that we are here for ANYTHING you may need. We love you.

-Nicole Renee Peloquin
Blazeman Foundation
THE WAR on ALS - " So Others May Live "
Strike Out Lou Gehrig's Disease!
nrpeloquin@waronals.com     www.waronals.com

* * * * * * *

I am so sorry for your pain and grief. I have visited the site many times and felt pride at Jon's courage and frustration at this vile disease. He has left an incredible legacy that will continue to inspire those of us fighting ALS.

I lost my husband, Jerry Beckwith, to ALS on April 4, 2006. He was really inspired by Jon.

On Monday, June 11, myself and two friends will be riding in the Assault on Mt. Mitchell, a 102-mile ride from Spartanburg, SC to the top of Mt. Mitchell, north of Asheville, NC. I will wear Jon's name along side Jerry's on that day and ride for them and all those who can't because of ALS.

With great sorrow,
Brid Pollen Beckwith
http://www.jerrysbaddle.org/

* * * * * * *

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Blais and Jennifer,

Words can't express my sorrow at finding out that Jon has passed away. What happened to Jon is the saddest thing I've experienced in my life, by far. I knew this day might come, but hoped it never would. I wanted to share with you some of memories of Jon.

I remember Jon racing BMX bikes as a kid. Even though I haven't heard this name uttered in over 20 years, I still remember his nemesis and rival, Rob Linnencourt. Jon would always talk about him because he was the only other kid who could compete with Jon. I remember the ramp that was set up in the court in front of your house. Jon would nearly achieve orbit taking off over that ramp on his bike. Although Jon was involved in many "Highlight Reel" spills going over that ramp, he never showed any fear. I remember building tree forts and hanging out in "The Swamp".

I remember our last year playing Farm League baseball. Jon would meet up with the rest of us after his game. I would ask how he had made out. Sometimes his team had won, sometimes they had lost, but Jon always hit a home run. He definitely averaged more that a home run per game that year.

I don't know whether you ever heard Jon use the term "Milt-to-Wilt", so I'll share with you the origin of that phrase. Jon used to like watching me and Bill Conley play 2-on-2 basketball games on the basketball court in Bill's backyard. Me and Bill would almost always win, and Jon used to laugh watching the way we passed the ball all over the court. Jon coined the phrase "Milt-to-Wilt" to describe our teamwork. Over time, the phrase morphed to mean anything requiring teamwork, hustle, and willingness to do whatever it took to get the job done. Needless to say, I love the term, and hearing Jon say it made me laugh countless times.

I remember how Jon continued to Trick-or-Treat years after the rest of us gave it up. The candy might have been a nice side benefit, but getting a laugh out of the people whose front door he showed up at was mission #1. I would come home and ask my mother if a lot of kids came by. She would say either "yes" or "no" and follow it up with "and Jon came by too". She got a kick out of that.

I have many memories of all the crazy, ridiculous, humor-filled times we spent while working at Four Town Farm. My fondest memory is of the "Black Plastic Team". Every year I can remember, that team consisted of Jon, myself, and my brother Jim. Every August, the inside of the large greenhouse had to be lined with black plastic to block the sunlight from hitting the butternut squash that's stored there until the winter. We used a forklift that had a large wooden bin chained to the front. Jim would drive the forklift, and me and Jon would hop into the wooden bin, and get hoisted to the top of the greenhouse, hammers in tow, where it was our privilege to spend the next 4 hours nailing the black plastic to the existing framework. In August, the temperature inside the greenhouse was a stifling 100 - 110 degrees. Just when tensions were beginning to run high, or the heat was a little too oppressive, or we were about to attempt an unorthodox maneuver, Jon would begin singing the theme song to the "A-Team". It was hilarious. It always cracked us up. It never failed. I remember loading squash with Jon. Jon used to prefer to work on the ground, lifting the 50 pound crates onto the trailer because working on the ground was a better workout. I still remember what Jon wore: cut-off jean shorts, ankle-high work boots, and a white tee shirt, although most of the time he took his tee shirt off and stuffed it into his waistband so he could work on his tan. I remember when Jon was attending Rhode Island College, and would work a couple of mornings a week. Late Autumn mornings were spent cutting cabbage, and busting each other's chops. The crew we worked with were almost too good at that activity, and all of us took turns being the butt of the jokes. I remember we all drank coffee, except Jon: Jon drank hot chocolate. I remember listening to the DJ Rocky Allen on 92 Pro FM. He made us laugh. Rocky Allen was the highlight of the morning.

I remember all those mornings and evenings when Jon would either run or cycle past my house. It didn't matter if it was August and 95 degrees or January and 10 degrees, Jon wouldn't be deterred. He was as reliable as the sun rising in the east and setting in the west.

I remember going to Laguna's on Thayer Street during Friday and Saturday nights in the summer, sitting on the sun-drenched patio drinking beers with Jon.

I remember getting a letter from Jon in 2003. He mentioned how he liked telling his friends in California about stories from his youth. He said no matter how much time goes by, those stories never get old. Jon was right, those stories never do get old. Sometimes I reminisce about those same stories: sometimes they make me smile, sometimes they fill me with a profound sense of sadness, but most importantly, I will always cherish those stories.

I remember the moment I found out that Jon had ALS. My mother called me and our conversation was typical, except that I detected a different tone in her voice that tipped me off that she was about to deliver bad news. After a minute or two, my mother said "I have something to tell you about Jon Blais". My heart immediately jumped into my throat. I thought she was either going to tell me that Jon had died in an accident or that Jon had cancer. She told me neither: she told me that Jon had ALS. I knew what ALS was and what that meant. I was numb and dumbfounded. The person who was in better physical shape than anyone else I had ever known had this disease that had no cure. I have asked myself the same questions I'm sure many others have asked about ALS: unfortunately, it remains a mystery.

I remember following Jon's progress on Ironman's website when he was conquering Kona in 2005. I was refreshing the page frequently. When I refreshed it for the final time, and Jon 's finishing time was displayed on the screen, I laughed. It was the type of laugh you let out when you know something will happen, then it does. I had witnessed Jon training for all those years, so although I was no less amazed by his performance as those who didn't know Jon, I wasn't surprised. There might have been people who thought it would be impossible for someone with ALS to complete the Ironman. However, these people were not privy to the most important component of Jon's Ironman equation: his heart. I truly believe that what Jon pulled off in Kona was one of the greatest feats in athletics history.

I remember the first time I saw Jon after his diagnosis of ALS. It was at the Blazeman 5k. As we approached the Flat River Middle School, the reality of it really hit. The banner for the race was unfurled on the fence in front of the school, the tent was set up for the speakers, and runners were warming up in the street. As we walked towards the school, I became anxious and choked up. I was hoping not to see Jon right away because I knew I'd end up crying. I did get those few minutes to collect my thoughts and emotions. Someone was speaking and I looked to my right, and Jon was about 10 feet away. Jon looked to his left and saw me too. I walked over to Jon and we hugged. Jon began to cry. I felt so bad. I wanted to say something that would make him feel better, but didn't know what I could say. I will never forget that moment. The day was a great success. Jon was about a quarter mile from the finish line encouraging runners to "Finish Strong". I enjoyed listening to Jamie Heywood speak. His spirit was optimistic. He said the War on ALS would be won. Hopefully that day comes soon.

The one thing that blew me away about Jon was that he still laughed....a lot. ALS could not pierce his sense of humor.

I will never forget Jon; his smile; his laugh; his sense of humor and his unparalleled toughness. Although Jon is gone, in life he achieved what very few others ever will: a legacy of greatness that will last for eternity.

Sincerely,
Mike

* * * * * * *

Mr and Mrs Blais and Jennifer,

I'm sorry to hear about Jon's passing. I've been following Jon's journey since his voice made the news about ALS and the need for more research.

Jennifer, Jon and I all swam for Seekonk during our high school yrs. I remember when Jon announced how he was going to start doing triathalons. I think some were a little upset at first because the thought of not being just a swimmer was unthinkable during Coach Mayers tenure. If it weren't for his determination, Jon wouldn't have done so much to get the word out about ALS.

He'll be missed, but not forgotten.

Sincerely,
Jennifer Perry

* * * * * * *

I’m so sorry!! I wish there were something I could’ve done. I really miss you Blazeman!!

I love you!!! You are always going to be the one I look up to fovever!! I love you Blazeman!!

R.I.P.

Roxy
FRMS

8th Grade Freedom Team!!

* * * * * * *

Dear Mary Ann and Bob,

I wish to express my heartfelt sympathy upon the loss of your beloved son, Jonathan. Having lost someone I loved more than life itself to ALS in 1990, I wish to share that my grief was brief, because my love for my mother was so strong that I could only rejoice in her new-found freedom from the body that no longer allowed her to express the fullness of her spirit. After having the privilege of following your emails in recent weeks, I am confident that you will find peace and joy in the knowledge that Jon's spirit can now soar free from the bonds of ALS.

I know that Karen Duffy has shared my story with you. I watched th e broadcast of the 2005 Ironman World Championships in Hawaii and witnessed Jon accomplish the incredible (because "nothing is impossible"). It was time to do something so others need not experience what my grandfather, my mother and Jon had to endure. I got in the pool shortly thereafter, saved up for a bicycle and learned to ride a few months after that and slowly a triathlete was born. I watched Brian Breen compete for Jon in 2006. I was determined to compete for Jon and my mother in 2007. I planned to earn a slot at Ironman Brazil. Even at 56 years of age, I actually came to believe that I could do it.

As Karen has also shared with you, an NBC senior executive learned about what I was doing – and more importantly that I was doing it to continue to raise awareness and research money for ALS and he recently offered me an exemption for Kona. Nevertheless, I still wanted to earn my slot. It was part of my plan. I t was my own personal battle in the War on ALS. I went to Brazil this month, as scheduled. Upon stepping onto the beach at sunrise on Sunday, May 27, 2007, I experienced a calm that simply cannot be described. It was time to execute the battle plan. I carried the Blazeman pin that Karen had given me for the entire 140.6 miles. I thought about Jon throughout the day knowing that his warriors would never allow negativity to deter them in their mission. Strength and honor! That evening I finished my first Ironman, won my age group and qualified for Kona! I awoke on Monday morning to receive your notification that Jon passed away Sunday evening … only moments before I crossed the finish line in Florianopolis. The emotion was overwhelming.

I am committed to working harder than ever to do my part to carry on the work that Jon started. My husband and I are sharing Jon's story and my commitment with everyone we meet. I will use every means possible to raise awareness - including the avenues that have opened up with NBC. I have set a personal fundraising goal of $50,000. What Jon did in his short life, will indeed echo long into eternity. But we cannot forget - as Brian Breen reminds us - it is we who are Jon's echo.

My family and I continue to keep you in our thoughts and prayers. God bless. And for Jon - FREEDOM!

Karen Kelly Riordan
ALS Warrior

* * * * * * *

Dear Blais Family,

I am so sorry to read about Jon's passing. I learned of Jon's story in December of '06 as I watched the story of Brian Breen completing the Ford Ironman in Kona on Jon's behalf.

I was immediately taken by Jon as I began to read and learn more about who he was. I was continually struck by his passion for life, and his caring toward others. Makes sense, especially after learning he was a special education teacher. That's not a job you can do without compassion for others.

Jon seemed to me, the kind of guy a girl could so easily fall in love with, and I have to say, I think I did. I love his story, his zest for life, his spirit and determination. I love how he never gave up, and believed in himself and others so passionately. I will be working in Boston this summer, and had a glimmer of hope that Jon would be well enough for me to meet him. It isn't very often in this lifetime that you are so moved by someone that you feel compelled to travel thousands of miles to meet them, but Jon did that for me. Selfishly, I am heart broken that my dream of meeting Jon will not come true. It isn't fair, but I know that you, his family, already know that.

I am sharing all this with you because I want you to know about one more person who was touched by your son's life. I want you to know that there is one more person dedicated to joining the war on ALS. I don't know how that will manifest for me, but I want you to know, it will. But most of all, I want to thank you for sharing your son with the world. My life, as a result, is changed forever.

With deepest sympathy,
Kimm

Kimberly Rombardo Professional Life Coach ~ Educator ~ Trainer

* * * * * * *

Over this weekend, we lost something brilliant. We lost Jon Blais. In his heyday, with his body in tact, I would put Jon with anyone I worked out with this weekend. He was strong, fast, handsome. I am not going to sit here and pretend that Jon and I were close friends. That I mourn his death at a level anywhere near that of his closest friends and family. But, a year or two before he died, Jon stood in my kitchen. He was there to drop off a bunch of his gear for young start ups that might not be able to afford it. He asked me to give the stuff away, because his body couldn't use it anymore.

If you ever had the privilage to look into Jon's eyes you would have seen fire. I exaggreate not, when I say that Jon's eyes bruned a hole in me that day. I asked him how he kept it together. His answer was simple; "I fight. I fight this thing every day. And I will fight it until I die."

We talked about Ironman. What it was like to finish. He told me that at about mile 20, the camera crew left him. They were certian that he was not going to finish. So, after following him everywhere for about a month, they just left him.

So he was out there alone.

He told me that he had to get off his bike numerous times to throw up. That it took everything he had just to mount and dismount. That because he couldn't feel his legs so well, he twisted his ankle. No one knew that. They didn't film that stuff. Who would want to watch?

He said that at mile 22, with little time remaining for the cutoff, the network sent out a scout, to ask him if he thought he was going to finish on time. (They did not want to film failure, just victory.) His answer was this: "You tell them the Blazeman is on the f#@%$*% way!" I guess if you watched the telecast, you know how it ended. The self proclaimed Warrior Poet kicked some serious ass.

Over these past few years Jon was the recipient of a few awards. Endurance Athletic Hall of Fame etc...He got some press this past year when a first time triathlete raced at Kona in his honor. They showed him in his wheelchair, with his family, smiling and hugging people.

So, I have a question; What does it take for each of us to cover those last miles? Where do we find the fight? And when is it over?

For me, honestly, yesterday really got into my head. Especially later in the evening. Maybe it is time for me to quit. After 36 years of this stuff, my knees crack when I straighten my legs. Some mornings I can barely walk down the stairs. And getting dropped? No matter how good a sport you are, it just isn't so much fun. I have had cortisone shots in my lower back, my knees and both shoulders. I cracked my head and spent a day in the hospital because all I could remember was my name. I have had many wonderful days in the sun. And, I can't count the cool people I have been associated with along the way. So for the first time in my racing career I got to thinking that maybe it is time.

Then this morning I was out on my patio reading the paper, and there was Jon's picture. I guess it was one last message from him to me. "I fight. I fight this thing every day. And I will fight until I die."

I am dedicating my season to the memory of Jon Blais. I am placing his logo on all of my training and racing gear and I am going to fight until I die. I will crawl, claw, roll, whatever the hell it takes to get me through those last miles. And I will thank God for the privilage to suffer through one more day in the sun.

So tell 'em I am on the f#@%$*% way. RIP Jon Blais...........

Joe Sbardella

* * * * * * *

This is such a great website, very touching. My grandmother passed away from ALS. It is a horrible disease. If there is anything I can do, please let me know. I plan on making a donation. My thoughts and prayers are with Blais' family at this time and all of the other families who have lost loved ones to this horrible disease.

Eleanor A. Figueiredo,
Providence, RI 02903

* * * * * * *

I am glad he is no longer suffering, he was a great man and I only met him once. I would like to attend the memorial ceremony. i do miss the times at Flat River it is a great memory i shall never forget.

Sincerely,
Kyle Cornell

* * * * * * *

Mary Ann and Bob:

I knew this day would come. Below is the poem that Jon and I were working on and I told him that I would not release until he had passed. He started it and I tried to reflect the intent of what he wanted to do with it after he was no longer able to focus on the work. It is a hopeful piece, full of challenge, self-reflection and his love of the notion of freedom. It is yours to do what you want with. I have not sent it to anyone else nor will I. I have also attached as a file since email can change the shape of the form. I will be in touch soon. Please let me know if there as anything I can do.

With great fondness…ST

Once Upon a Fire
by: Jon Blais and Scott Tinley

A light that consumed me in my coldest hours
burns daylight where earth never yellows.
Rust bonds on a gate nearby and
air once removed sits roadside as time has its way.

Greatness made me a slave of his own death,
a transitory brilliance once removed
and Whole we sit, world-born.
There.
Solace marches in synch,

Independently.

Beaten and bladed though folded still
within this want
unvanquished liberty’s William,

a resolve to till the earth
pray the clouds,

his curing rain softening
a shovel’s duty.

There is much work to do above.

* * * * * * *

Mary Ann,

Thanks for sharing. I think that at the center of this whole experience, those of us who have been lead to, or drawn to Jon's life, have become story tellers... telling and re-telling the inspiring story of Jon Blais... and how Jon has affected our individual lives indefinitely

I hope that the hundreds and thousands of stories that you'll probably hear, will help to bring a powerful and healing peace to your heart... as you are reminded again and again what a truly incredible person your son was.

To me, Jon is not really gone. He's given his body over to ALS, but his spirit is still right there in the heart of every Blazeman Warrior, old and new. He's with me through every experience and every challenge I take on.

You and Bob are in my thoughts and prayers,

Love,
Brian

* * * * * * *

Dear Mary Ann and Bob,

I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Jon's passing away. I felt that you may like to read my personal journal for that day. Sorry if it is written in short-hand, but it is personal, and my mind tends think better in rhythm. Jon was an inspiration, and a hero to me. I assure you, he will never be forgotten.

Jordan Bryden


Life can be so ironic. Almost as if this is a movie, and the script has been written. But in some ways it has. God has a script for my life. It began in 1986 and will continue until the story has been read, and it s purpose served.

My plot begins one day when my dad walks into a bike shop. The owner and dad would chat, and he would tell that I love to run. That bike shop would then go on to pay the entry fee for my first triathlon.

Wow. what a rush. I'm a wide-eyed ten year old after a half hour race. I have stumbled upon something I love. Years would pass, and I become more serious. Sport becomes quite important, and by the time I am 15 I have a top ten finish at a Jr National Championship as the youngest competitor. Still, as excited as I was when I was ten; when I first struggled just to make it 100 meters in a swimming pool.

Fast forward a decade.

I now swim thousands of meters every day, and still love to run. Championships have been won, and hard work is rewarded. But something has changed. I am back at the same race I raced 10 years ago. The same kids of steal triathlon. May 27th. Things are different. I am standi ng in front of the kids, rather than among them. In such a short time I have changed from the kid in the crowd, to the person handing out medals. A small girl asks to have her picture taken with me. Someone hands me a mic, and I get to tell the wide-eyed ten year old about my many experiences. I talk about travel and victory, even defeat.

I tell the kids about a warrior. A warrior whom I have never met, and his passion for the same sport that they have just become a part of. I mention his passion for life and love, and his war with a unseen enemy. A spark takes light.

Just moments before- a heart stops beating. Its story has been read. The warrior has fought hard, but has fallen in battle. One of millions. He loss is felt the world around. A commander unlike any other. But something is different.

This warrior has left in his place- his sword, his battle plan, his hope. That someone else may rise up, and fight t he good fight. I will fight in his place. And pray that I may have that warrior's courage to fight, But not alone. Oh no-not alone.

This is just the beginning, we've only just begun.

* * * * * * *

Theme

Glory is fleeting. The only way a person can capture it and make it last is to die young after achieving greatness. In this way, the person can live forever in the minds of people who remember him at the the peak of his powers. Although Housman does not wish his readers to take this message literally, the undercurrent of cynicism in the poem suggests that life in later years is humdrum and wearisome. Consequently, he praises the young athlete for dying before his glory fades: “Smart lad, to slip betimes away / From fields where glory does not stay. . . .” In the last century, the early deaths of baseball player L ou Gehrig (age 37), aviator Amelia Earhart (39), actor James Dean (24), actress Marilyn Monroe (36), female athlete Babe Didrickson Zaharias (42), U.S. President John F. Kennedy (46), civil-rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. (39), singer Elvis Presley (42), singer John Lennon (40), singer Janis Joplin (27), and Princess Diana of Great Britain (36), Jonathan Blais( 34) all seem testify to the validity of Housman’s thesis.

By taking away their lives when they were still relatively young, death gave them eternal life in the minds of their admirers. Jon has done this for so many!!

Commentary

.......Housman’s cynical view of life may have a certain perverse appeal for young people disenchanted with life. These are the youths who sometimes act on their “death wishes” by taking dangerous risks in fast cars, by experimenting with drugs, or by committing acts of violence that end in suicide. Housman himself was troubled as a youth as a result of his shyness and the fact that his mother died when he was only twelve. At Oxford University, he was a brilliant student but failed his final examinations, and he ended up accepting a humdrum job as a civil servant.

.......Obviously, “To an Athlete Dying Young” is a thought-provoking poem of considerable merit. It makes the reader think about life and its meaning, and its beautiful imagery and rhyme scheme please the eye and the ear. And, though Housman is right when says people tend to remember public figures great promise who die young, he neglects to mention that people also remember important men and women who lived well beyond middle age, including, Sophocles, the greatest playwright of antiquity, who was 91 when he died; Augustus Caesar, the emperor of ancient Rome during its Golden Age, who was 77 when he died; Michelangelo Buonarroti, the extraordinary Renaissance artist and sculptor, who was nearing 89 when he died; Victoria, queen of the British Empire at the height of its power in the 19th Century, who was 81 when she died; Pablo Picasso, perhaps the most influential artist of the 20th Century, who was 91 when he died; Albert Einstein, developer of the revolutionary Special and General Theories of Relativity, who was 76 when he died; and Mother Theresa of Calcutta, the Nobel Prize-winning nun famous for her work among the poor, who was 87 when she died. And who will ever forget Mahatma Gandhi, the "father of modern India," who was 79 when he was assassinated, and Pope John Paul II, who helped topple Soviet communism and promoted ecumenism with Jews and other non-Catholics. He was a few months short of his 85th birthday when he died.

.......Yes, dying an untimely and early death can earn headlines and television eulogies for the deceased person. But long-lasting fame depends more on compiling a record of accomplishments than on “going out in a blaze of glory.”

Thank you,
Drew,
CTA Staff Office
The Columbia Triathlon Association, Inc.
Columbia, MD 21044-4147, USA
www.tricolumbia.org

* * * * * * *

Dear Bob and Mary Ann,

Ever since I received the news I have been trying to put my emotions into words. All that I can say is that it was an Honor and a Priviledge to have known Jon. For the short time that I knew Jon he taught me alot about LIFE, he will always be remembered.

My condolences to you both, however you will have some magnificent positive moments to remember.

Jon will always be an Ironman, I will never be able to go to the Finish Line in Kona without thinking of Jon. The reason, He will always be there!

Thank you for sharing him with us.

Peter Henning

* * * * * * *

Bob & Mary Ann –

Our deepest condolences go out to you at the loss of Jon. You know Lorrie and I have you in our thoughts. I posted the writing below on my blog last night and celebrate Jon’s accomplishments in awakening a giant in the triathlon community.

Sincerely,
Bob Mitera, Team Polar Chicago
http://bobmiterateampolar.blogspot.com/


Life and Death

Sunday we lost a friend and colleague in the triathlon community, Jon "Blazeman" Blais became ALS's latest victim. Jon woke an entire community to the ravages of ALS in hopes to get dollars flowing into research and treatment for future ALS patients. As I said in earlier blogs, I met Jon and his family in Kona in 2005 and from there my friends and I started the ALS Spin-a-thon which is now run by the Blazeman Foundation. I volunteer locally with the ALS Les Turner Foundation here in Chicago.
I had several e-mails to me expressing condolences which I appreciate. What many of you don't know is that I'm actually quite religious; I just don't wear my religion on my "sleeve". As this is not a religion blog but a triathlon blog, I'll spare you my philosophy and theology. I'll sum it up in my final paragraphs on this subject.
I feel that all reasonably good people end up in heaven. At my grandparents funerals (one grandmother left - and she's tough as nails) I wore my "Easter" tie as a celebration of their life. I miss them all terribly, but they would want me to remember all our laughing and fun we had over the years they were here and "get on with it." They would want me to do great things. Adventures they could only dream about and some (like Ironman) that they just sat back and said, "Wow! I can't even imagine what that felt like Bobby." The reason we are here in the USA is because my great grandparents left the troubles of early 20th century Europe and they wanted us to have more opportunity than they had. We still keep the old traditions alive. I started making ravioli by hand (1,000+) every year before Christmas. First with my grandfather's sister (Aunt Dee) and my grandmother, then with my mother and Grandmother and now with my mom, aunt, wife, sister-in-law and brother. In the later years, my grandmother would just smile and shake her head as my aunt and mother would make their annual mess with the flour. It is a ton of work but ravioli never tasted so well. Richer or poorer didn't make a difference; we enjoyed each other in the now.
Daily, I can hear my grandparent’s voices in my head guiding me as if they are with me. I love to get my wife to laughing so hard she starts crying, snorting, and turning red (at least twice a day) this is how life is LIVED. She usually returns the favor and we try to get each other laughing harder in a little daily family competition. All the while...I vividly remember my grandmother telling me how much she liked Lorrie. "Oh, Bobby! I really like her! She is such a nice young lady!" For extra emphasis grandma grabbed my elbow, giving it a little tug. Her wide smile and sparkling eyes said it all already. I'm not sad they are dead because they are "home". I do miss them because I would like to make ravioli again with grandma or go fishing and enjoy a beer with my grandfather one more time. Their time here has passed on Earth and it is my time to apply what they taught me.
Jon lived his life and his efforts will echo for many years. I salute the courage he had to fight in the darkness of the lava fields knowing that if he could finish the greatest race on Earth, The Ironman World Championship in Kona, that the face of ALS would be changed forever. It has forever been changed Jon. You awoke a sleeping giant in the participants of Ironman to ALS. One of our last times together, Clearwater, Florida and the 70.3 World Championships...we drank a Captain and Coke after the race and said, "Look at what a bunch of regular guys have done! We don't have any big sponsors. We aren't Lance Armstrong. Yet here we are."
So I raise my water bottle today, and salute those who lived and have gone before me. I'll see you again some day. Here is to living, now and hereafter.

* * * * * * *

We all know as soon as Jon hit the pearly gates St. Peter yelled to the heavens “Jon Blais You Are a Heavenly Ironman”. Then he gave him a hug and welcomed him to the Start line of his eternal life. In which Jon probably replied “Do you have any good bikes I can ride up here”?

To the future of winning the fight.
Mike Reilly

* * * * * * *

Bob and Mary Ann.

I was sorry to hear the news of Jon, however I am happy that he will now be at peace.

I also know that 179 will forever remain in our hearts.

I only have visions of many many people rolling across finish lines at all Ironmans worldwide…people who are new to the sport and spectators will say, “What the heck are those people rolling across the line”.

I also wanted to let you that in February, Jon gave Tinley the opportunity to speak on his behalf. Well, Scott is not only one of our pioneers but an incredible person and writer. He delivered in Scott Style with a Jon twist. Jon sat and listened patiently as Scott delivered and sometimes babbled on…

Then the most inspiring event, Jon stood, because he wanted to, and delivered his own version.

I try and look at my life and how precious it really is, and Ironman always comes to my mind, it has given me everything, my family, my friends and employment. I may have won the Ironman, but that doesn’t make me a better person, what makes a better person is how they move on and take things to another level. Jon has done that, but I must confess, he is a large part of my inspiration to do this, to be a better person, and to breathe hard, because I can. We all have trials and tribulations but at the end of the day, its how we reach out to help others and I cannot tell you that I know any other person that has educated and spread the word about a dreadful disease such as ALS as Jon has.

I am lucky to say that I met Jon, although briefly on a few occasions.

I am proud to say that I was able to know such a human who fought a great fight, educated an educated crowd and came from two of the worlds most beautiful, supportive parents.

You guys rock.

Long live Jon the BLAZEMAN Blais.

Greg Welch
Ordinary Human Being

* * * * * * *

Very Powerful and Sincere from The Man who knows the meaning of "So Others May Live"... in this case Greg Welch

Rob Vigorito, USAT Certified RD
EagleMan Ironman 70.3
June 10, 2007

Site of The Celebration Of The Life of The Blazeman and the unveiling of The Blazeman Spirit Award and Offical Retirement of # 179, to honor those special Humans who exude The Spirit of The Blazeman and his passion for Life

* * * * * * *

FROM THE KIDS OF FLAT RIVER MIDDLE SCHOOL - SITE OF THE FIRST BLAZEMAN 5K

Hey, Mrs. Norris-Karten,

Its Kyle Cornell, remember me? Anyway I heard about Jon Blais and I wanted to send my respects. He really did inspire me and I want everyone to know what a great guy he was.

Today some of us went around with a paper signing our names in memory. But I will talk to you later.

Sincerely,
Kyle Cornell

hey this is Nancy Alger from last year and I was just e-mailing you to let you know that I heard about Blazeman and I wanted to offer my condolenses. I'm very sorry and I hope you and your family are okay. Just know that nobody here will ever forget him!

Hi,

I heard about what happened. I'm very sorry for your loss but all of the Flat River kids in our school made cards. They should get there soon. I hope your ok.

I miss you,
Areeg

* * * * * * *

Bob and Mary Ann,

Thought I'd forward you the email I sent to Kevin MacKinnon this morning. It started out as a simple email asking for a story to be written about him... but I couldn't control myself and my fingers furiously typed my emotions out sentence after sentence. So I thought it was only fair to share it with you since it's about your son... and I sent it to Kevin. I look forward to talking with you again.

Love you both,
Brian


Kevin,

I'm sure you've heard by now about Jon Blais' passing on May 27th. I know that you've dedicated a lot of space on Ironmanlive, and a lot of your time, to the story of Jon Blais. But, I was just wondering if there might be room to let the Ironman Triathlon world know that Jon Blais has passed on.

There are incredible details about Jon's death that I think the Triathlon World should know. Details... that can only make you think of one word... "Warrior". But out of respect to Bob and Mary Ann Blais, and his sister Jennifer... those will have to wait for now.

I hope that we can talk soon.

Something I've been thinking about since the day of the 2006 Ironman that has finally become clear to me... and I want to share with you.

The NBC coverage of the Ironman was fantastic... they had a lot of footage to use... and I think that they used the very best footage they had. However... what you didn't get to see or hear on NBC... was what happened after I finished, a fter I rolled, after the enbrace with Jon and I. We turned towards the cameras and microphones and I faintly remember thinking, "this isn't about me, this is about Jon"... so I turned towards him and asked him to say something. He leaned in towards the cameras and said something that I'll NEVER forget for the rest of my life. Borrowing from one of my personal favorite movies "THE GLADIATOR"... Jon said, "What we do in life... echos in eternity." And that was it... that's all he had to say. I then turned towards the cameras and talked about how we needed more warriors... and more people to wear the uniform and this and that...everything I could think of I was spitting out. But it has occured to me... that it was Jon who's words struck to the heart of the matter... to the heart of every triathlete... and every person. He said it all.

Jon is gone now. His last personal battle has been fought... he has moved on into eternity. And those of us who knew him, or knew of him, will never be the same...

Some of us first learned of his battle through NBC's covereage of the 2005 Ironman. Others had to wait to see his story retold through the 2006 Ironman. Most though... have probebly heard of Jon Blais' story through word of mouth. I know... because I can't count the number of times I've retold his story to a fellow runner while out on the trails near my home... or to a group of cyclists while out on a ride... or even a fellow triathlete or swimmer while getting in some laps at the local gym. Then there were some who rolled across a finish line for him. Others raised money for him, or put together a charity race or event for him. Then there were a few who got to meet him, speak with him , hang out with him.

Whether you saw his smile on a picture, on television, or in real life... it affected you all the same. And that laugh. .. even in the midst of ALS, even with his facial and throat muscles failing... it was such a distinctive, unique, and genuine laugh... that it made you laugh till your sides hurt. He was both a tough guy...and a softy. If he thought that you couldn't see or grasp the "carpe diem" philosophy of life that he had... or if he sensed you weren't genuine... then he didn't need you...and you might even think he was a stubborn jerk. However... he had an incredible sense of humor... and he longed to be inspired... by movies, books, children, and real people who challenged themselves... acknowledged their weaknesses... and faced their deepest fears.

Ya know... Jon was a teacher... in his real job and in daily life. What's so ironic is... in almost every level of education... we are all tested. They want to see if we're good at Math, or science. Will we be a biologist or a truck driver... can we figure out the square root of the der ivitive of pie... or do we have photographic memories for facts, history, and general knowledge. But how do they test... to see if your particular talent is... to Move & Inspire people to do things that they themselves never believed they could do? What is the test for that?

Because that was Jon's talent. His metaphorical "Heart"... was the size a bear's... with the strength of a lion's. He just plain "Believed"... and he could make you "Believe" too... even in yourself... even in the face of your biggest fears and weaknesses. How else do you explain that a person with ALS... (a disease that makes your muscles useless)... finishes the most grueling Ultra Endurance Triathlon race on the planet... (an event which requires... muscles)? Because he "Believed" that he would either finish the race... or perish out there on the road while trying to get to the line.

How interesting is it... knowing that Jon's job an d passion was teaching kids... that after his 2005 Ironman performance... one of the first few people who came forward to help Jon was a 12 year old Junior Triathlete from Atlanta, GA named Brian Duffy. Brian was so moved by what he saw on that 2005 NBC Ironman broadcast, that he told his parents he wanted to dedicate his races to Jon Blais, and he wanted to immediately begin raising money to for ALS research??? I'll never forget Brian... because he was the first Blazeman Warrior I saw when I went on Jon's website, after finding out I'd gotten into the Ironman through the lottery. I remember thinking... "Wow... this 12 year old has already gotten involved and is helping raise money for Jon... if he can do it... then I wonder if I can do it too."

Jon and I share some interesting common ground. When we were younger... we were both told by educators in our schools...that we must have some type of learning disability. Obv iously, because we couldn't just soak up and spit back out the facts and figures that they were feeding to us. Essentially, they were telling us that we were "missing" something that the other successfull students had. From my experience with Jon Blais... I can tell you exactly what he was "missing". What Jon Blais was "missing", was that thing that most of us have inside that causes us to hesititate... or allows doubt to conquer or paralyze us. His thoughts and dreams were directly connected to his heart. And when a thought of his was so powerful that it shot directly to his heart... he then took action. So who has the disability now? Maybe the rest of us. What could be a more powerful lesson than... "Dream it... and then do it". He lived his life directly from his heart... with little interruption of the doubt and fear that most of us wrestle with on a daily basis.

Jon's teachers suggested that maybe he couldn't learn. Turns out... he could teach the one skill... that they couldn't.

Our thoughts, our actions, our lives... will be impacted by what we experienced through Jon Blais. And of course... we will tell his story again and again... we will show others the video of what he did... we will read to others his words... and we will draw on his strength and courage to get through the tough times that we are bound to go through... whether in a race... or in life.

And eventually... there will be a viable treatment... and cure... for ALS. And Jon will have most definitely had something major to do with that.

On the morning of May 28th... I received the news that Jon Blais had passed on. I sat silent for a few minutes... not sure what to do next... who to call... who to share the news with. The minute I began to share the news of his death with those whom I loved... is when I lost it. I cried tears for his parents and his s ister... for in the end... they lost a son, a brother. I cried selfish tears for myself... because I'd lost a friend that I'd only just come to know within the past year. I cried tears for the loss of a mentor, and a teacher... someone who has changed me...and whom I will carry in my heart for the rest of my days. And mixed in with those tears (yes... it was a flash flood) were tears of joy... for Jon fought and battled until the end... and now he is finally free from the horrible grip of ALS.

I just keep thinking that someone "up there" thought they were short on good teachers. Jon was and still is a powerful soul... and somewhere right now... Jon is "up there" inspiring, motivating, and teaching... that... or he's just coming out of the water, hopping on his tri-bike, and heading out to bike on a road that we'll all come to know one day. And I have to imagine... that someday... he'll be waiting for me at that nex t finish line as well... only... he'll be standing there on his own power.

At about 9:15pm Hawaii Time on the night of October 21st 2006......just minutes after he and I met just beyond the finish line of the Ford Ironman World Championship...Jon borrowed some words that meant something to him... and spoke into those NBC cameras: "What we do in life... echos in eternity"... -Jon Blais, 2006 Ironman... (phrase borrowed from THE GLADIATOR)

Jon... it is we.... who are your echo.

Brian Breen
ALS Warrior
Team Blazeman

* * * * * * *

To the Blazeman family -

My heart was so heavy when I read this news... but I know Jon is in a better place and will always be fighting so others may life. He has touched my life and I know many others and I will continue to help carry his torch.

"Some people come into our lives and quickly go
Some people move our souls to dance.
They awaken us to new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom.
Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon.
They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same"

Jon, you have changed my life and the lives of so many others -- forever.

My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Blazeman family,
Cherryl Rose

* * * * * * *

Mr. & Mrs. Blais,

Jon Blais - May 27, 2007

He could have taken this terrible news and just gone home

He could have EASILY quit - Instead he decided to fight and wage a War on ALS!

While many experience misfortune and then just fade away - Jon decided to Make a Difference!

While I can't pretend to feel what you are feeling today, I can tell you our tears are very real, and you should know that meeting Jon was a Priviledge for all of us. When Brian first came and told us what he was going to do, we begged him not to! Then he showed us Jon's tape; and when it ended - Brian, with tears rolling down his face said, "I'm going to do this.....It's the least I can do."

I realize now that what I wanted didn't matter - what God wanted was all that mattered! So often, people walk out the door and, because of one tragedy or another, never come home. They never get the chance to say good-bye. My older brother was just such a person. Jon not only said "good-bye" to those he loved the most - he also made a difference for so many people while he was doing it.

I have to believe in my heart - when you've cried yourself out and you finally sit down and think about the entire past two years - how incredibly PROUD you must be of your son - the warrior poet!

WE CERTAINLY ARE......

The Entire Breen Family

* * * * * * *

FROM MINI JONNY BLAZE

many past many come
many go to stay
now he is painless
but not yet famous
he is the one who lead us in to the woods
but made us find the way out
he helped many kids at aseltine and was like a father
now all i can see is the pictures that hurt me so
so if you knew the one i loved
then help me get through this and believe i will see him with god above

thank you jonny you helped me and many others find our way and i go hiking for all the time , also i still go to bogart yogart and say "this is to jonny blaze" (i did it the day after you past and will do it soon for many years)

YOUR BOY LARRY BIRD 3.0 DUH !!!!!!!!

* * * * * * *

Good morning Mary Ann,

I posted a notice about Jon on my running blog as soon as I received your e-mail last night:

It includes your letter, a link to the Ironman video and an exerpt from his web site on the Blazeman Foundation.

I am also going to talk to my editor about running something in the paper.

- Carolyn Thornton,
Providence Journal
Providence, Rhode Island

* * * * * * *

Dear Maryann, Bob, and Jen;

I am certain you all know how special Jon was to me. First as a student, and mostly as a friend. Our visit a few weeks ago was hard for both of us, knowing there was so much to say and do, and so little tile and strength to do it.

For two years I've found myself thinking as much about the 3 of you as much as Jon, himself. I have prayed for his life to be easy and for yours to be peaceful. When I visited I knew he was near the end, and while we never actually said good-be, that IS what we were doing. When he said he, "I love you, Rocky," I fell apart.

Please contact me if there is anything I can do to help. Ray (my husband) and I are planning to meet Jen in MD for the Eagleman. If she cannot make it, we will try to help there, as well.

Please let us know when and where the services will be held.

And if you think of anything else you need us to do, we will be happy to do what you request.

Please feel free to call us.

With sad love and gentle hugs,
Deb Marciano & Ray Noll
Chestertown, MD

* * * * * * *

Thanks for making us aware of Jon's passing. You are all in our thoughts and prayers. Jon's legacy will continue to live strong in the Ironman world. Please let us know if there is anything we can do.

With sympathy,
Blair LaHaye

* * * * * * *

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Blais,

We are so sad to learn about the loss of your son Jonathan, the Blazeman. This is not fair and we cannot even imagine what you two must be going through to have to say good-bye to your son. We are just so sorry.

My mom, Lois “Tot” Schultz passed away from ALS in January and the pain is still raw and so real. I just hate that you have to go through this same experience. So many people told me not to feel guilty if I felt a little relief once she passed since she had been so sick for so long. And I did feel relief in knowing that she was no longer in pain and that she was in heaven. But it didn’t make the ache in my heart go away. And now, months later, I just want to see her, even if she is just laying in her bed. I just want to talk to her, even if she can’t talk back. It is the hardest thing I have ever done. And I know that it must be for you as well.

One thing I know for sure is that our loved ones didn’t lose this fight. They won. They held on for as long as their bodies could fight and during that time were able to touch so many lives and change so many people. ALS has a name because of your son. Multi-sport now has a mission because of your son. Maybe our loved ones were chosen to have this disease because they were the kind of people who could make a difference and can bring this disease to an end. I know your son fought a great war. And his legacy will live on. You must be so proud of him.

It is a very sad time here on our street. We share in the grief of this loss with our dear friends the Duffy family who love you both and your son. Those boys will carry on Jonathan's name as Blazeman, Jr. and keep fighting for him. Rest assured.

Our love and prayers are with you.
Shannon and Yannick Le Mintier

* * * * * * *

Mary Ann and Bob,

Jon's great passion will live on. His name will be part of the hearts and minds of all of us who were lucky enough to have witnessed his great spirit. I hope in all your grief you will find comfort in knowing what a difference he has made in his short life. I will help tell his story to inspire others and to find a cure for this horrific disease.

If there is anything I can do for you please let me know. It will make me feel more useful. Please know how sorry I am for the lose of your son, Jon your warrior poet.

Love,
Rita

* * * * * * *

I just learned that Jon Blais, "The Blazeman" passed away on May 27, 2007. The last thing I heard from him several weeks ago was how proud of us he was, for our efforts to step out there and bring awareness and support to the War on ALS. We communicated often when he was able and he continued to fight, but also to encourage others.

As many of you know, my cousin, David Barker, is in his sixteenth year with ALS and has been bed ridden and unable to speak for many years, but he keeps on fighting. When watching the World Championship Triathlon Ironman in October 2006, I again saw the reality of how horrible ALS is. In 2006, Jon Blais watched from the sidelines in a wheelchair, it was just the previous year that he competed and completed the Ironman in Kona Hawaii, and now, less than two years later he is no longer with us. I was so moved that I immediately joined Team Blazeman and set out to do something and hopefully to encourage other to join ranks with me.

I know some may feel that I have hounded and barraged you with info and pleas for help, but seeing it impacted me profoundly and I encourage you, if you haven't been involved, you can start now. There are excerpts on the internet, or if you'd like you can borrow my DVD, or I can burn you a copy. I will give my disclaimer, If you wish to discontinue receiving these updates and the monthly newsletter, please let me know and I'll unsubscribe you.

Thanx again to all of you for your prayers, support and encouragement.

David Knight
http://www.CoonbottomtriClub.com

* * * * * * *

Dearest Bob and Mary Ann,

My heart is aching from the news of Jon’s passing and I wanted to reach out to you both and let you know I am thinking of you and Jon.

I am sure you don’t remember me but while standing in line in Kona last year waiting for Sarah Reinertsen’s autograph I was very privileged to meet and talk with Jon. I had watched the 2005 Ironman Championship and immediately felt connected to Jon and meeting him in person was the highlight of our trip to Kona. I am not a very good triathlete but I am a good back of the backer J and my husband and I were there volunteering at the finish. Even though are diseases are no where near on scale, my struggle with multiple sclerosis continues to be with me. Maybe that is why I connected with Jon before I ever met him . His courage was overwhelming and I knew that if he could do it, I need to continue to try.

I am racing the 70.3 in Hawaii this Saturday in preparation for Ironman Coeur d’Alene in a month then Ironman Canada in August. I am raising money through the Janus Charity Challenge for ALS Therapy Development and the donation will be in Jon’s name. I will continue to try to raise more money right up to the race with hopes that we can make a difference.

I will make sure while on the bike course this weekend to make a special nod to the Hawaiian gods for Jon and I know I will think of him every single minute of the race. Perhaps the Hawaiian gods are at peace and smiling with Jon’s presence with them. Jon is still working his magic even though he is gone. I received news today that while racing at Ironman CDA I will also be racing for a Kona slot through the CEO Challenge. This is a huge surprise to me but I am very determined to give it my very best shot and try to make it to Kona to represent the Blazeman Warriors, your family, and most importantly Jon.

Thank you for sending Brian’s email. It truly is a fine tribute to you and your son’s beautiful life.

Cheryl Iseberg

* * * * * * *

Bob and Maryann,

What is there to say? FREEDOM at last... It is a very bitter sweet moment. He accomplished so much and touched so many, yet that is still not comfort enough when you know he's gone.

I as are many people, numb...
It is a reality that strikes very close to home, and a sad day to know i have lost a friend..

Like Matt Reed said, we feel an urgency and a need to do something, right now, right away...but we need to just stay steady and carry on Jon's work.

Know that you are in our prayers, and know that Jon is smiling down on us.. Your son was a great man who did something that changed the world.... That is a great legacy...

We will talk again soon,
God Bless...

Oh and Bob, I believe that the world did scream "Jonathon" so that he could hear us.....so that he was comforted by us.

Ryan and Mindy:)

* * * * * * *

We love you

Sean & Marisa
San Diego, California

* * * * * * *

To the Blazeman's Family...

If you only knew how your son has touch my life. His stuggles with his illness, his beautiful words, his "tough as nails" approach to the Ironman has inspired me and touched my soul. I ran Ironman Florida 70.3 with his name on my handlebars to remind me this is no dress rehersal...and yes...I did get it on film.

My heartfelt condolences to each and every one of you...your son will live forever in our hearts.

Melissa
Orlando, Florida

* * * * * * *

The world has lost an amazing human being. But what an excellent way to go out. Knowing that YOU have made such a difference to so many people. That you haved touched people so much that they have made life changes, that you have BLAZED a trail so that others will live.

To Mr. and Mrs. Blais, You must be equally as amazing as Jon because our children learn from us and do as we do. I am SO deeply sorry for your loss. I can't bear the thought of losing a child. My 3 daughters will know your son's name and what he stood for. How he NEVER gave up in Hawaii and how he fought for his life against all odds. "Freedom" is written on our driveway in sidewalk chalk. Goodbye Jon. :...(

With love & respect
In strength and honor
Rest in Peace
Jennifer
Connecticut

* * * * * * *

Dear Mr. & Mrs. Blazeman,

I am a PAL and as I write, it is with mixed emotions. I am sad for your loss, for our loss. You wonder what all Jon could have accomplished with a different future. I know personally I have dreamed dreams and what could have been. But that was or is not our lot in life. So we either take up the mantle before us or roll over and wither away. Your son took up his mantle with honor and glory. He stood up and boldly challenged people to take action. And one day, when the cure for this horrible disease is discovered, Jon Blazeman will be honored for his efforts and contributions.

God bless you and I pray for the peace of our lord, Jesus Christ, for you.

With love your friend,
Frank Campbell
Dahlomega, Georgia

* * * * * * *

Dear Mr. and Mrs. Blais,

My sincere sympathy goes out to you and your family at this difficult time. I met Blazeman in 2005 when I registered him at IM Kona. I am a Registration Coordinator for Ironman, and had the privilege of meeting Jonathan when he came to check-in. He gave me his card after I shared with him that I had lost my uncle to ALS. I checked his web pages often, and actually have the song “The luckiest” as a favorite in my workout playlist on my iPod. As a result, I thought of Jonathan and his fight every time I work out.

You have every right to be proud of Jonathan’s efforts. He was a fighter, who brought awareness and hope to so many others that are fighting the disease.

May god bless and keep you,
Dave “Gonzo” Gonzales

* * * * * * *

Mary Ann & Bob,

Our thoughts and prayers are with you and yours.

Gone but definitely not forgotten, John will always be a part of everyone he touched – and he touched so many.

Keep well,
Huddle & Paula

* * * * * * *

Dear Friends,

I wanted to share the news that one of our triathlon friends has passed on. Jon "The Blazeman" Blaise finally succumbed to his battle with ALS yesterday morning. My heartfelt condolences are with his family and friends at this time, and now I simply ask that his memory and tenacious war against ALS continue on in Blazeman spirit.

I had the pleasure of meeting Jon in Kona last year and he became an instant friend. We shared e-mails while he could still type, and phone calls when his voice became his only mode of communicating. He tried to tell me as much as he could about his life, his years teaching in San Diego, his students, his passion for triathlon and how very much racing at Kona in 2005 meant to him and his battle against ALS. He knew that if he didn't finish the race that his message would fall silent, and if ever "finishing meant everything," it was that day back in October 2005. Congratulations, Jon, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!

I knew and still know that he simply asked that I be his friend and share his message with others.

"I miss San Diego… tell all your friends to follow in your footsteps…"
"maybe someday you'll visit and write about your time with me... I am now losing my voice..."
"would have been fun to ride and snack with you along the coast... rain or shine kiddo..."
"WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE WORLD… WHAT IS IT THAT YOU SEE… -U2"

-jonathan

...and now Jon will continue to communicate through the heart and memories he leaves with us.

We'll miss you Jon, and thank you for your courage and spirit! You have made an impact on my life and I will never, ever forget you and what you shared with the world and me. I'm glad you're finally free~

Your Friend,
Autumn

* * * * * * *

There are also many more entries in The Team Blazeman Guestbook - Click Here


May 24th, 2007

Hello all,

As we all pray for "FREEDOM" for Jon, and we wish him peace of mind, body, heart and spirit..I ask of you today to keep my father in your thoughts, and also wish him "FREEDOM"...

It is a sad day when a son has to discuss such topics as DO NOT RESUSITATE wishes with his mother and the nurses and his siblings...but that was my day. It is a sad reality, but one with which you realize that the clock is ticking, and a battle may soon be lost again to ALS.. How soon? hard to tell, but it's real enough to know that a hope of hanging on til August to see two new grandbabies born, may not happen. It may, but it probably won't...

So, we pray for FREEDOM for two very brave warriors, two inspirational men...two people who changed my world.

God bless those who do the work to comfort those who are suffering, and god bless all us warriors who fight for better days.........and yes, god bless those like Kevin, who dare to whisper the dream we all dream. We will all fight, in the process many more will lose, but one day we will win.

Yell loud, get pissed off, stand up and say, i can do more...i can yell louder, i can fight harder...for those with ALS..for those who suffer so bravely.

Your canuck friend,
Ryan:)---father Adelard Van Praet 1951-?


May 21st, 2007

Karen,

I am sure you get so many emails, but I wanted to share this. I went outside a few days ago with my 2 1/2 year old son and my 5 1/2 year old son and my husband and we yelled "Freedom" at the top of our lungs. My 5 1/2 year old understands that Jon is sick and wanted to help. He asked, "Do you think he heard me?". It was really sweet. We are all fighting for Jon in our own ways. Stay strong and thank you for all of your efforts to fight ALS.

Lisa Decker


Monday, May 14th - Wednesday, May 16th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS

(Click Here)

From: ALSA Advocacy

Dear Karen:

We are excited to announce that more than 630 advocates, including a record 110 people with ALS, have pre-registered to attend this year’s National ALS Advocacy Day and Public Policy Conference! The number of registered advocates is by far the most ever for the conference – 200 more than last year – and is the result of the tremendous support from our volunteer leadership and ALS Association Chapters.

These record numbers also mean that we are exceeding the space limitations of the conference facilities in Washington. Therefore, we have officially closed registration for the Public Policy Conference. However, advocates may continue to register to attend the Congressional meetings on Wednesday.

If you or someone you know does plan to attend the Congressional meetings and has not registered for the conference, please contact your local ALS Association Chapter immediately. If you are not affiliated with an ALS Association Chapter or do not know which Chapter represents you, contact Sean McGraw in the Advocacy Department at smcgraw@alsa-national.org or toll-free at 1-877-444-ALSA. Please also let us know if your plans have changed and you no longer will be attending the conference. By providing us with the most up-to-date attendance information, you can help ensure that we are able to accommodate as many advocates as possible at this year’s conference in Washington, DC.

We look forward to seeing you next week!
The Advocacy Department


Saturday, May 12th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS

Blazeman Warriors Visit... "A Cure is Coming!"

A 14-Mile Walk And Wheelchair Ride To Benefit ALS-TDI Research.

(Click Here)


May 10th, 2007

Hi Bob:

Here is an article I wrote for the East Greenwich Pendulium before the Scott Carlson ALS race I ran.

My prayers continue for you and Jon and your family.
Ken Bell
ABC 6 Sports
Providence, Rhode Island

Blazing a Trail against a Dreaded Disease

When Red Sox ace Curt Schilling and his wife Shonda walked into the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Warwick last November, excitement swept through the room. Curt spent time signing autographs, shaking hands , and having his picture taken with fans. However, these weren't the people he had come to see. Curt was anxious to walk into the next room to meet those fighting ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis), better known as Lou Gehrig's disease. Curt and his wife spent time with each of the 40 or so people in their wheelchairs surrounded by their families. He talked baseball and tried to encourage each person he met. A short time later in the main presentation in the "Evening of Hope," Curt explained how he and his wife had gotten to know someone with ALS. The couple was so moved that they joined the fight to find a cure. That night, the Schillings helped raise thousands of dollars for the cause.

Like Curt, I do not have anyone in my family who has had to battle this horrible disease, for which I am very thankful. The disease if ruthless. And just like Curt, I was greatly moved after doing a story on a Seekonk man which aired during the Jerry Lewis Telethon last September.

For much of his life, his body was like a machine. Jon Blais was a running star at Seekonk High. He began competing in triathlons in 1985 and for 20 years, Jon swam, biked and ran with the best triathletes in the country. Then came the winter of 2005 and Jon says he didn't need a doctor to tell him he had ALS. "It's pretty easy to tell. My symptoms were really there with muscle wasting. It's pretty clear cut." ALS attacks the nerve cells that control the muscles of the body.

From the moment Jon learned he had ALS, he knew his future was mapped out. The average lifespan is just two to five years. No one beats this disease. But the one called Blazeman had one more trail to blaze before ending his career as a triathlete. Jon set his sights on the Hawaiian Ironman, the holy grail of pushing the limits.

The Blazeman would be the first man ever to compete while battling ALS. Three days before the 2.4 mile swim, Jon lost the use of his left hand. During the 112 mile bike ride it appeared Jon would not complete the stage in the allotted time, but he did. "People didn't think I was going to make it. They were packing up their cameras. I always knew that as the day goes on, I get stronger."

Beating the odds, the Blazeman approached the finish 16 1/2 hours after he started. He then rolled his body across the line, his way of drawing attention to this battle with ALS. "I knew mentally that I would battle through until either they kicked me off the course or I ended up being carried out on a stretcher."

Jon had experienced triumph one last time. He knew he'd never compete again. "It's over, ALS has already bulldozed those aspirations and that's OK, I've accepted that." Indeed, life has changed drastically in the 17 months since that amazing finish. Jon did go back to the Hawaiian Ironman last October, but this time it was in a wheelchair as he watched others cross the line. Several runners rolled across the finish as a tribute to what the Blazeman had done just a year earlier.

Jon now spends his days working on his website, alswarriorpoet.com. The website tells his story and is full of messages of hope and sorrow from other patients and their families dealing with this dreaded disease. Jon points out, "It's like death valley. There are a lot of people who get it but not enough to get a lot of attention. Also, the disease comes so fast that you don't have enough time to do a whole lot while you are there."

The Blais family is on this terrible journey too. They have joined the call for more research and better treatment as scientists search for a cure. "This is not a new disease," says Jon's father, Bob. "It's been known for 140 years. Lou Gehrig, one of the great American ballplayers, had it 70 years ago. Jon has received the same treatment Lou Gehrig received."

Despite his disappearing health, the Blazeman remains positive, working tirelessly at raising money and awareness. He does this knowing full well he'll never see the benefits of his efforts. "I raised $110,000 in eight months but I don't have anywhere near the energy I used to have. This is a wasting disease, muscles waste away. It's the end for me but hopefully a beginning for a lot of other people to take on what I have started."

(If you would like to help in the battle against ALS, I encourage you to join me for the Scott Carlson Memorial 5K on April 28th. The race begins at 10:00 am at the Goddard Park Carousel. Scott was another great athlete who lost his battle with ALS in 2003. Runners and walkers are welcome as we take a step forward in the battle against ALS. Please use the pull-out registration form in this issue of EG Magazine to enter.

Last year I wrote about the courageous battle by Dr. Robert Miller's sister Ileen, a resident nurse until ALS took away her dreams. Unfortunately, Ileen lost her battle making Bob and his fellow Rotarians even more determined to support this local race against ALS. We all pray for a cure in our lifetime.


April 21st - May 5th, 2007

Karen,

This is our latest clinic for ALS.

We are also designing our uniforms with the Blazeman logo. Our team is very excited to help out in any way.

-Mary
Emerald City Multisport Team


Thursday, May 3rd, 2007

Ironman Celebrates Another Emmy Win

The 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship broadcast, taped on location in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on October 21, 2006, received an Emmy Award at Monday night's 28th Annual Sports Emmy Awards Ceremony. With a fifth win in the category of Outstanding Edited Sports Special, one of the highest honors, Ironman has now captured 14 Emmy awards to date.

"Ironman is full of inspirational stories, but there is one particular story I wish to share with you tonight. In 2005, an athlete suffering from ALS completed the Ford Ironman World Championship and that athlete returned to Hawaii in 2006 in a wheelchair as a spectator. Tonight, Ironman athlete, Jon Blais is fighting for his life. I'd like to dedicate this year's Emmy to the Blazeman and his family," said Ironman's Executive Television Producer, Peter Henning, during his speech Monday night. The 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship broadcast aired on December 9 and will re-air later this year on Sunday, August 5, from 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. ET. The show highlighted a variety of athletes who demonstrate the Ironman mantra, "Anything Is Possible," including Captain David Rozelle, a below-the-knee amputee who returned to active duty, David Samson, President of the Florida Marlins Major League Baseball Team and Sister Madonna Buder, the oldest female finisher of the Ford Ironman World Championship.

The Sports Emmy Award recipients were chosen by a Blue Ribbon Panel of their peers from over 700 entries in 30 categories. The awards recognize outstanding achievement by individuals and programs broadcast throughout the 2006 calendar year. NBC, the network that has been airing the Ironman World Championship since 1992, won a total of nine Emmys in 2006.

(Click Here)


Sunday, April 29th, 2007

I completed my first race for the season and it was a great one. I attached a picture from the race for you. It was the BPAC 6 Hour Distance Challenge.

I came in 21st out of 69 at the time of 5:33:45 for 32.25 miles. That was my first Ultra or even marathon (other than Ironman) distance run ever.

The race director as well as the other racers were very welcoming to Team Blazeman and wanted to know everything about the cause. It was the Blazeman himself that was the inspiration that I needed to go that far.

Sincerely,
Peelee



Sunday, April 29th, 2007

My name is Jim Thew and I was diagnosed in July of 2004 with ALS. I have visited your site quite often and have always wondered how I too could have a poem that I wrote some time ago when I was first diagnosed.

Since last year I have become a Active Advocate for ALS at both the State and National Levels. I try to do as much as I can to bring awareness of what I call the "Monster". I am fortunate that my voice is not that affected, but slowly it is starting to be. I have taken it upon myself to speak out for those that no longer can.

I see that you have a link to the ALS MARCH OF FACES website. I was the one featured in the "Still at War" story. Not only am I a PALS but I am also an Advocate for Disabled Veterans and am part of the Veterans Affairs Issue Team for the ALS Association.

To get right to the point after that long intro. I was wondering if there was a way that you could put this poem that I wrote. If you have any questions, please by all means contact me.

I Thank you for you time and all of your effort with this fight against the "Monster".

Forevermore…

The days have become numbered for me.
Soon I will be launched forever out to sea.
All I ask is those of you that would remember me.
Think of the fun times and laughs that we shared
Those are the memories I ask you to be spared.
That is the way I would like you to remember me.
Remember the happiness and all of the cheers.
Not the sadness and all those so many tears.
Understand that I lived life, now you must live yours.
But know I’m not gone but high above, there I’ll soar.
Watching over you, I will be there Forevermore...

"NEVER GIVE UP"
James Thew
VETERAN AND ALS ADVOCATE
Navy Veteran (1991-1999) and PALS since July 2004


Blazeman's Warriors Visit…
The 7th Annual Scott Carlson Memorial East Greenwich Rotary
Adversity Leads to Success 5K Run/Walk

(Click Here)


Thursday, April 19th, 2007

I was there and saw you cross the finish line on Ali'i Drive. Or, rather, I wondered who this guy was that was rolling around on the carpet?! But I figured it was some kind of inside joke, and was happy for you. Good thing I didn't know who you were until I got back to the mainland. B/c I was right there, and had I known your story (it was making the rounds, but I didnt put a name or face with the story).....had I known that was you, I would have been a crying, cheering wreck.

I am sure you hear this all the time, but you are THE MAN! You are exactly what this nation needs, to see real men with the honor and courage to carry on their lives and be an example to all those who perhaps don't have one. You are one of my inspirations as I try to get through law school and raise my son.

God bless you, each and every day.

-Respectfully
-N J


Wednesday, April 18th, 2007

"People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone."
--Audrey Hepburn,
Academy Award-winning actress, humanitarian

Ginger


April 14th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warriors Team Duffy

THE BLAZEMAN WARRIOR
5K RUN/WALK

A Race To End Lou Gehrig's Disease

“Decision Must Be Instant…
Commitment Must Be Total”
-Blazeman

               
April 14, 2007
Location: South Forsyth High School
585 Peachtree Parkway
Cumming, GA 30041
               
Date: April 14, 2007
Time: 8:00 a.m.      
Online registration at: www.active.com

GC Neighbors,

I wanted you to see what inspired Brian to begin his fundraising for ALS. Click on the link below to view the Blazeman's story. (it's only six minutes) From this we learned of Shannon's mom and it grew from there, and thus the Blazeman Warrior 5K was born. This video is from Oct. 2005---In Oct. 2006 Jon returned to Kona, confined to a wheelchair. ALS progresses very quickly. We are grateful for your support and hope to see you all on April 14.

With thanks,
The Duffys


Friday, April 13th, 2007

Jon, Mary Ann and Bob,

I've been thinking of you each day and wanted to check in. I spoke with you on Easter and know the road is not easy at this point. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

Love,
Jayne Marie


Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

Jon,

You are such an inspiration,and have helped me to cope with a dear friend's recent diagnosis of ALS. May the Lord bring peace to you and your family.

Majorie D


April 8th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warrior Dave Knight

Here's some pix from Red Hills, I'm the heavier one, red head at Red Hills. One of the team members, Grady Jordan, was inspired to write an article for the Sheriff's Office monthly newsletter that is distributed throughout Tallahassee, I'll send you a copy if it makes the cut.

       

dk
Detective David A. Knight, CFE
Leon County Sheriff's Office
Violent Crimes Unit
Tallahassee, Florida 32304

* * * * * * *
Kristie Klein is an attorney in Atlanta and has a team of 44 athletes---Team Gey---who also did Red Hills. Their professor, Steven Gey was recently diagnosed with ALS. You can check out their site at: www.als.net/ffc/familyPage.asp?familyID=295


April 3rd, 2007

We are pleased to share the news that So Much So Fast will be aired on Frontline on your local PBS station on April 3, 2007.

You may have already seen the film as it was released in various theatres across the country over the past year. This is your opportunity to share this inspiring film documenting how ALS-TDF laboratory was started.

Beginning with Stephen Heywood’s ALS diagnosis at the age of 29, So Much So Fast offers a window into the Heywood family’s battle against ALS and the birth of ALS-TDF (now the ALS Therapy Development Institute).

Please check your local listings for accurate times and channels at www.frontline.com .


Saturday, March 31st, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With NBC Television

The NBC Broadcast Of The Inaugural 70.3 World Championship
Is Scheduled For March 31, 2pm-3pm EST


Friday, March 30th, 2007

Hi Blazeman,

My name is Roger Drews in Poway California (San Diego). Jon, I am racing for you this year at IronMan Arizona.

I am 46 years old and have been racing since 1979. I have 3 kids (20,18 and 15). I have used you Jon as a role model for my kids. Jon, you are greatly admired and loved in my home, and we always REMEMBER YOU OUR FRIEND - THE BLAZEMAN ALS WARRIOR POET.

We are your friend Jon, and we love you. I hope when my trials in life come, I am brave and courageous just like you Jon. You are my hero Jon.

Mom and Dad Blazeman, you are 2 amazing people, I know this because you have a son like Jon. We love you too.

Always in our thoughts and prayers,
Roger,MaryLou, Evan, Jayna, and Brendalyn Drews

P.S. Jon - my wife Marylou, like you, works in special education at the elementary level.


Friday, March 30th, 2007

Hi Jon,

Just thinking of you. Hope everything is good. We are about to go on Spring Break. Take Care of yourself. All The Best to You and the rest of the Blaises.

Love
Larry
San Diego


Saturday, March 24th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warrior Kristina Klein

Hi Karen.

Yes, less than two weeks to go until tri day. My initial goal was to have 20 people commit to doing the tri with me -- each raising 500 so that we could, as a team, raise 10k for the War Against ALS. We completely surpassed that goal! There are 44 people on Team Gey -- almost all of them first time triathletes. We are scared and nervous about our first triathlon, but excited too. John Blais has been such an inspiration to so many of us. A put a link about him on our Team Gey website.

You can click on Our Photos to see some our beautiful team members :)

The night before the triathlon we are having a team dinner - and i'm hoping to show the Blazeman video (the same one that's one our website under "Our Story") on the big screen to give one final motivational push before the triathlon on saturday morning. We're also having a big team celebration/party at a bar in tallahassee. You all should come! smile.

I would absolutely love it if, perhaps, we could get some words of encouragement or advice from Team Blazeman - I could read it aloud to the Team before the race. Or - if you have any ideas, we are game for anything.

We are just so inspired by the Blazeman story -- it has honestly helped us get through the sadness of Professor Gey's diagnosis. I cannot thank you all enough for inspiring so many!

- Kristie


Saturday, March 24th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warrior Emily Archibald

ALS Spin-A-Thon For The Blazeman
"The ALS Warrior Poet is Goin' Global."
(click here)

       


Saturday, March 10th, 2007

I first saw your incredible story while watching the 2005 Ironman. As an avid baseball history fan I consider Lou Gerhig one of the greatest because he was likely the first to give ALS a voice. Your voice has been much louder and stronger thank goodness. The words THANK YOU are not enough to express how you have opened eyes and minds about ALS and hopefully soon there will be a cure.

Mary Ann Pults


March, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warrior Bob Lee

"I have reached a point in life where success is not as important as significance."
-Bob Lee

Give Me Three Good Reasons…
Why would one ride 6500 miles across the country on a bicycle at age 65?

Cure • Caring • Challenge For three causes: Cancer, ALS and Hospice Care.

The Ride for 3 Reasons begins with “a purpose driven life.” I accept the challenge to ride 6,500 miles across our country to raise awareness of the challenges faced by Cancer patients, ALS victims and our families faced with end-of-life issues.

The Journey Begins March 2007
With this RIDE, I hope to inspire understanding, activate fundraising and jump-start cures. At the same time, as I approach my own personal “mile-marker” of 65 years, I intend to encourage my generation to ride/walk/run to maintain good health and an active lifestyle. I invite you to bookmark this page and join me on this RIDE vicariously via the 3reasons.org website.

100% Of Funds Dedicated to the 3 Charities Any corporate sponsorship will be used in the best interest of your company and the RIDE.





(click here)


Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

Maryann,

I was reading the Providence Journal over this past weekend and -- admittedly, I don't usually read the Sports section -- but on the front page there was someone that I thought I recognized -- and with the last name of Blais and the reference to triathalons, I instantly thought of you/your son. I remembered seeing pictures of him on your desk, and I remember asking about him because while I have a very distant history of marathons -- I had been in that frame of mind at least for a short time in my life -- so I truly admire and respect anyone who does that sort of thing. I was, however, very sad to learn from the article that this Jon Blais had ALS. Of course my next step was to e-mail Teresa to tell me that this Jon Blais wasn't the one that I was thinking about -- but unfortunately, she only confirmed for me that Jon was your son.

Maryann, I'm not sure what to say to you -- and I'm not sure that anything that I could say to you would help. I did, however, want to at least get in touch with you to let you know that you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers and also to let you know how sorry that I am that you, Jon and your entire family has to face the evolution of such a horrible disease.

As a parent, however, you must be so extremely proud of your son -- that in the face of such tragedy, he chose to do something so wonderful and selfless in working towards a better social awareness of this disease while raising funds to help support it's research, etc. I guess once a triathelete, always a triathelete ... pulling all of your strengths together (mental, physical, spiritual, etc.) to accomplish a goal. At this point, Jon's goal may be less athletically physical -- but he is doing something very similar with his physical, mental, and spiritual presence -- he is making a difference; he is pushing himself to many limits; he is mentoring through his courage and selflessness; and he is someone who is touching many lives ----

Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you and your family.
Suzanne Bailey
(Dr. Parisi's secretary)

Wednesday, February 14th, 2007

I was fortunate enough to meet you over 15 yrs ago, working at a small retail store in Seekonk, MA. I had never known someone with as much drive and love for action. To hear all that you have accomplished so much is not a surprise to me. You are such an inspiration, and as much as I can appreciate your spirit, those closest to you have truly been blessed. Because of you, I will hug my kids one more time each day, kiss my wife one more time, maybe even two, and I will make a stronger effort to do and not think about doing.

Thank you, Jon.
God Bless you and your family.
Joel M.
Seekonk, Massachusetts

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

Blazeman...

You are an absolute inspiration to me. Blessings to you and your family.

Gretchen P.
Ohio

Sunday, February 11th, 2007

Blazi,

You are in our mind every minute of each day. You are our hero and always will be. These words should make you smile: "perizoma, prepus, dog house, too much travel, go geek..."

Your friend,
Fab

Saturday, February 10th, 2007

OK, good news...I broke my record from last year...I did two hours (as opposed to last year when I saw you there and only did 1 hour) and raised $200. John was there with his wife and their little boy Jack---and Bob (the older guy). And I also met Brian, who Petra told me to look out for, I guess he did Ironman with you? He was in SD two weeks ago at the party Pet and Fab had.

Anyway, just wanted to tell you today was a big success. The bikes were all used---and there were prob. 15-20 lined up.

John's wife took a picture of me, which I will send you when I get it, and I will burn a copy of the CD I made to spin to. I am dubbing this the Blazaman playlist.

-Jill


Saturday, February 10th, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS
Team Blazeman Joins Forces With
Blazeman Warriors Of Palatine

"Triathletes Who Care" Presents...
Second Annual ALS Spin-A-Thon For The Blazeman
"The ALS Warrior Poet is Goin' Global."
(click here)



Special Thanks To 2007 ALS Spin-A-Thon Hosts:

Buehler YMCA - Palatine, Illinois (2nd year)
(Click Here)

Edward Jones YMCA-St. Louis, MO.
(Click Here)

Synergy Team Workout-Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin
(Click Here)

Rutgers Cycling Club-New Jersey
(Click Here)

CFM FARTMAN Racing-Alberta, Canada (2nd year)

YMCA Mill Pond-Hanover, MA.
(Click Here)

Chatham, Ontario Canada YMCA
(Click Here)

Providence Rhode Island Triathlon Team
(Click Here)
January 29th, 2007

From the Providence Triathlon Club:

Excellent news!

I received an e-mail this morning from someone in the triathlon community. This person has offered to match the first $1000 that we raise at the spin-a-thon! Even more incentive to get more people involved in the day.

This gracious person has decided to remain anonymous and I will respect that wish. The reason this person wants to help is this: "my motivation is that I want the Blais family to think fondly of the endurance sports community in the Providence area."

Much thanks goes out to this person and the support provided. I think we can get to $1000 and more. Get the word out.

Please also remember that many companies, large and small, will match an employees charitable contribution. Ask your HR person about it.

Thanks,
Ed


Cambridge Racquet and Fitnness Club
Cambridge, Massachusetts
(Click Here)

UNC Wellness Center
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
(Click Here)

Triumph Multisport
Seattle, Washington
(Click Here)

Stacy Mullikin and friends
Dallas, Texas

Body Image Fitness Center
Fillmore, California

Greenwood Mall
Bowling Green, Kentucky

Luke's Locker
The Woodlands, Texas
(Click Here)

Club One
San Francisco, California
(Click Here)

As seen on the web:

http://www.alswindsor.ca/Events.htm

http://www.tristatetrek.com/html/news_det.php?id=18_0_1_0

http://www.swimbikerunstlouis.com/

http://www.synergyteamworkout.com/events_frameset.html?PHPSESSID=f31441d82ce711134374f26277645e2a

http://www.landrys.com/events/BenefitCharityRides/default.aspx

http://www.alsindependence.com/2nd_annual_als_spinathon.htm

Just like last year we are calling upon endurance athletes all over the world to join Blazeman and and his "War on ALS". Get a group of friends together on February 10, 2007 and spin to raise money for The Blazeman Foundation.

WHAT:

You spin as an indiviual or team for a total of 16.5 hours (time Blazeman battled in Kona). Cover the 16.5 hours any way you want (collective spinning hours or total run time - its up to you).

WHERE:

Anywhere - Find a high traffic area (indoors or outdoors) where people will notice what your doing. Health clubs, malls, sporting stores, or parks where people congregate are great spots.

WHY:

To raise awareness and funds for the "War on ALS". All funds will go to The Blazeman Foundation.

REPORTS FROM THE BATTLEFIELDS
Providence, RI Contingent
Hey everybody, please see our pics from today in Providence!
(Click Here)

We've raised over $4200 on site and we've heard from other friends of ours that they've made donations either online or through other means. And we've started discussions about how we want to stage the event next year.

Thank you to Jennifer, Anna and Jason for taking time to visit with us and talk with us. Cliff, your pictures are fantastic.

Good work everybody.

Ed Casey
Providence Triathlon Team

* * * * * * *
Palantine, Illinois Contingent
All,

Palatine was packed! We had heavy donations and a guest. Amiee Chernik, ALS patient who was featured on CNN and MSNBC. I contacted Aimee and her husband Jim before I flew out to San Diego. I introduced them to Bob Lee.

Brian Breen came out, says hello Cliff. So does John.

I rode all 10 hours and got the group to do push ups every 20 minutes or so... So 800 push ups and 10 hrs of riding.

Bob

* * * * * * *

Chatham, Ontario, Canada Contingent

Hey John and Jon,

Here are some stats from a kick ass spinathon today. I had I guess under estimated the turnout but was pleasantly surprised.

So from the Chatham Ontario Canada spinathon:

$7050 raised. 67 cummulative hours ridden by 30 different participants in a 6 hour time span.

We rode 12-6pm to get as many ppl out riding as possible. We had 17 riding all at once at our peak.

Will send some pictures as soon as we get them. Thanks and hope the rest of the groups had similar success.

Best wishes,
Ryan Van Praet

* * * * * * *

Fillmore, California Contingent

Thank you all for letting us in on the spin. We had a great time, created a whole troop of Blazeman warriors and the 3 of us all did a Kona roll at 8:29pm. My butt has never hurt this bad and the smile on my face never bigger.

God Bless You All,
Dave Mac Donald

* * * * * * *

St. Louis, Mo. Contingent

John,

We in St. Louis had 10 folks come out for our event......I am still waiting on some mailed donations to come in....so far we have $971.00 raised and more expected......we got coverage on Monday Feb 12 on www.swimbikerunstlouis.com but Matt has pulled out the pictures already.....I have some digital shots I will share as soon as I get them uploaded....

Thanks,
Paul

* * * * * * *
Woodland, Texas Contingent

* * * * * * *
Seattle, Washington Contingent
       

* * * * * * *
New Canaan, Ct. Contingent

* * * * * * *
Cochrane, California Contingent

* * * * * * *
Alberta, Canada Contingent

* * * * * * *
Dallas, Texas Contingent
Here are some pictures from the event. We didn't have as many show as expected b/c it was in the 30s!! Total we raised with Cingular's match = $1050. I have $250 more in Blazeman Foundation checks (possibly more - waiting on a couple people). So hopefully we'll get to $1500...

There were 2 Dallas fireman. The one off the bike had just lost his Dad to ALS.

Thank you for the opportunity to be part of such an incredible cause.
Stacy

PS - for Valentine's Day my husband ordered me a Team Blazeman tri top which I thought was really sweet. Many of our triathletes on our team want to roll across every finish line an d take part in the Blazeman cause!

* * * * * * *

Brentwood, California Contingent

Hi John:

Our last minute event at the Club One in Brenwtood went pretty well...we had a decent turnout for the 8am-2pm event, and it looks like with a few online donations we raised somewhere in the vicinity of $1500.

I personally rode most of the 6 hours (about 5:40 of actual ride time with breaks and a morning presentation to the first spin class at 8) and a couple of my training buddies came in at 10 and stayed the rest of the time with me. After the first two classes (8-10) we peaked at about a dozen riders in the 11 am till 12:30 or so time frame, and then about 7 hardy souls stuck with it for that last hour.

Overall I was pleased with how this came together, how people seemed truly interested in the cause and were learning more about ALS than they knew. It was also interesting to see how many people's lives have been touched by this disease---yet we don't really talk about it. Hopefully this is but a step in the right direction.

No pics, unfortunately...

Thanks again, John, for all your help in assisting me with this. It was a lot of fun and we'll do some more events throughout the year.

Take care,
Mike Conway

* * * * * * *

Charlottesville, NC. Contingent

John,

I hope I'm not too late. The Charlottesville Spin-a-thon was a success. We raised $400 and brought awareness to hundreds in our community. The Charlottesville Triathlon Club hosted the event. We had the DVD you'd sent playing all day on a lap top on the counter next to us.

Thank you for everything you do.

Jim

* * * * * * *

A big THANK YOU you to all of the ALS Spin-A-Thon event organizers!

Because of all of you, I am pleased to report that with ~95% of the funds counted, the 2007 ALS Spin-A-Thon has generated $47,545.00 for ALS research. More importantly, you have helped increase ALS awareness within the endurance athletic community across the nation. Please pass my sincere gratitude on to each and every one of your families, friends, and neighbors who supported you and your efforts with the ALS Spin-A-Thon.

The "War on ALS" 'is a grass roots campaign to engage the endurance athlete community in something larger than a personal finish line. The energy, drive, and and spirit of endurance athletes is something that we believe can be and should be harnessed for the greater good. You have all proven this to be true.

Here are some fun facts about this years events:

1. We had an Ironman Champion , Ironman age group winner, a Team Timex Professional Triathlete, and a rock star (Pearl Jam Guitarist Mike McCready) spinning with each of us the past Saturday. 2. There were 17 separate Spin-A-Thon events (15 in the U.S and 2 in Canada) with more than 500 individual spiiners. 3. Several ALS patients and families of ALS patients made their way out to one of the nationwide events as a show of support. 4. Several individuals rode the entire 16.5 hours by themselves in honor of Blazeman's 2005 Kona triumph (including a mother and her 12 year old son in Sheybogan Falls, Wisconsin). 5. We had national and local press coverage because of the individual efforts of all of you (http://www.spinforals.com/PRESS.html) 6. Most importantly, we inspired 17 different communities with the passion each of you showed for helping to destroy ALS.

I have placed some photos from this past weekends events on the spin for ALS website www.spinforals.com/PHOTOS.html. I plan to add more photos as I receive them, so please check back frequently for updates.

Once again THANK YOU for your support of the "War on ALS". I hope to personally meet each and everyone of you out at the races this upcoming season.

Sincerely,
John Wolski
2007 ALS Spin-A-Thon

Spin-A-Thon
Spin-A-Thon
Spin-A-Thon
Spin-A-Thon
Spin-A-Thon

Tuesday, February 6th, 2007

Hi Jonny-Blais,

I am all set to do the spin-a-thon here in Chicago on Feb 10. I have been taking a spin class to prep at my gym, so maybe my ass won't get as sore as it did last time. I have an awesome picture of us at Petra's from a few years ago, which I will bring.

Anyway, now that I have been living in Chicago for almost two years, I have made some girlfriends. I emailed a bunch to see if anyone would join me to spin. One girl, Tiffany Gay (yes, her last name really is GAY)--who I really don't know all that well--could not make it, but she sent me a check for $100!! I was totally floored. It was such an amazing gesture and surprise....my email to the girls was more in the spirit of "join me to spin for awareness" and not asking for donations, and here this girl just mails me a check! I will put it in when I spin on 2/10.

Anyway, just a note to let you know that good news....I'll be thinking of you as I sweat my ass off on Feb 10. BTW---it's a "boney" ass now, i have managed to shed 15 lbs! I really needed to, so I feel super happy being more fit now.

Petra says she's going to see you in FLA soon. I wish I could be there, it's -7 degrees here. And the Bears lost the super bowl.

Oh well.

XO Jill

Sunday, February 4th, 2007

To Our Friend Jon,

Last night, if for only a moment, all fell silent in the wake of your humble display of fortitude.

Few things in life can inspire like that, but somehow you've done it again.

In our hearts you will stand tall forever!

Autumn


Saturday, February 3rd, 2007

BLAZEMAN'S WAR ON ALS

Team Blazeman Goes To San Diego
15th Annual Competitor Awards Night

Friday, February 2nd, 2007

Dear Jon,

I can only expect that your days and nights are growing more painful and difficult. I think of you daily and hope that somehow, somewhere inside your diminishing body there still exists: the baby who nestled close to his mother's breast cradled by love, the boy who played hard and questioned - wondered "what if", and the man of honor who put it ALL on the line in the name of freedom.

I think of you and feel my heart bursting, wishing...

I love you my friend,
Wish you were here...
Heather

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

Jon,

Beautiful letter. You've been on my mind so much lately. I've been praying for you daily and hoping that you're feeling well. Shea and I both miss seeing you and I can't help wishing you were here. John has been gone, minus three days, for the past 3 weeks. I feel like I haven't had a minute to do anything. Luckily he's home for a while and I'm catching up on emails and phone calls. In baby terms I feel like we haven't seen you in such a long time. 8 new teeth and running around like a little hellion. I think your San Diego trip is coming up soon. I know you must be looking forward to it. I wish we could be there to see you.

Two things I wanted to tell you. My friend Sara, a great athlete, said to me just the other day that she feels like since she's heard your story that she has heard so much and seen so much more on ALS than she ever has in her life. I hope that makes you feel good...like you're definitely doing what you set out to do. I'm sure no one ever expected any less from you. Also, my friend Mary, the personal trainer I told you about, and I are trying to organize a spin a thon at the gym where she teaches...gold's gym in East Greenwich. I'm hoping that it works out.

Well, I know you probably can't respond but I just wanted to send you a note to tell you that you've been in my thoughts and prayers and that I miss you.

Lots and lots of love and hi to Mom and Dad,
Beth (and Shea too) xx

Thursday, February 1st, 2007

From when you sat in my class at RIC, to ten wonderful years of hearing your stories, reading your poems, watching you blossom, and seeing you touch others' lives, you have amazed and humbled me. You are the most amazing person I have ever known (except for my Dad!!!) I am soooooo kick ass proud of you... and I love you... I am honored to call you friend... and I thank God he sent you into my life... peace, and always, always hugs.

Deb

Tuesday, January 30th, 2007

Jon,

Laura is the nice young girl who works the counter at Sherwood Gym, thinks the world of you, Nelson, Rachael and I think of you often. Say hi to your parents.

Your friend,
Larry

Sunday, January 28th, 2007

My name is Roxy Thompson.

I’m one of the students from last years fundraising. You are a hero to me as well as anyone else who knows about you. You are a great man and deserve the best. I hope that you live your life like anyone should. You told my 8th grade Freedom team to live like there’s no tomorrow and I live everyday that way. You made a huge impact on my life and I will never ever in my whole life forget you. Thank you so much for making me realize what life was really about. I pray for you every night since I met you for someone to find a cure for you and anyone else that has ALS to get better and stay strong. I love you like I love my friends and like I said will never forget you.

Thank-You For Teaching Me The Best Life Lesson I’ve Ever Had Taught To Me.

Blazeman… My Hero and My Friend!!
Thank You!!
Blazeman, Blazeman, Blazeman, Blazeman!!!!
You’re Always Thought of!!!

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007

Blazer:

Thinking about you. All good thoughts. Reckon I have to get up and find something worthy to say about yawl at the Competitor Thing. Aye, I’ll do it. And I’ll let ’em see me do it. Words, long as a man. Aye, the Apache Indians used to measure their worth by the fierceness of their enemies. That makes you more than a man, Aye. A phaulking legend, you are becoming in spirit as your carrier dissolves…as all of ours will. Aye, ye make me proud to know you, to have Scottish blood running through me like hot oil over the wall.

Aye,
ST

Friday, January 19th, 2007

Hey John,

Too many people live life in a meaningless way with no true purpose. Those words will NEVER be said about you. Millions know and love you. Always know that!

Brian Horton
Murphy, North Carolina

Friday, January 19th, 2007

My mom died of ALS a little over 6 years ago. She never made peace with the fact that she was going to die and was continually angry until the day she died. I totally admire your acceptance of the disease and your proactive approach. You are living your life!

Wendy
Corvalis, Oregon

Friday, January 19th, 2007

My nephew lost his battle to ALS. He was so much like Blazeman...fearless,intelligent,passionate about sports,life,people,family. He would light up a room with his sincere energy. Thank you for sharing and allowing me to share. He wanted to do what you have done in bringing down ALS, but he only got 18 mos of life after diagnosis. It was like we could see the disease at work by the hour, that is how quickly he became disabled. Through it all it was Gray who kept us up with his strength of spirit. He never gave up. He is smiling down on you for your efforts and all those working for a cure.

Pat Lawton
Easton, Maryland

Thursday, January 18th, 2007

I too am an Ironman. My training helps me with the work I do. I work as an art therapist with children who are living with loss. This year I have several children who have parents who have ALS. We talk about taking doors off hinges so wheelchairs can fit thru, playing chess with parents that use headsets to move their pieces, and all sorts of other things. We laugh and we cry together.I told them about your story and they have told me about their stories of living with ALS. They know about the Ironman from me and they think you are awesome!! If you would like to be our pen pal we would love to send letters to you. These kids are great and an inspiration just like you. They are living with ALS because of their parents. You can see who we are at www.heartsandcraftscounseling.org Carry your Ironman memories with you always. You will get strength in so many ways from that experience. Hang in there and know we are around thinking of you and spreading the word of what ALS is....

LAURA


Wednesday, January 17th, 2007

You are brave, and I can only hope to have half as much courage as you when I am tested.

Good luck in your fight and God bless you!

Joe


Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

Originally this e-mail was received on November 19th, 2006. It is repeated here because of a feature story on Ironmanlive.com.

Sunday, November 19th, 2006

Blazeman,

I am a 27 year old Visually Impaired Triathlete who has completed three Ironman's in the last three years; fighting my own destiny which is total blindness in the next 5-10 years. You would think that would be a one and only reason to attack a dream, show others that anything is possible, and that you need to chase down what people say is impossible. However, that is not so, those were my reasons for doing Ironman the past few years, but last year at this time my father was diagnosed with ALS. This is now my goal, to race in his honor, to show the world that a man who was/is strong, how did all the important things a father and husband and great man would do, can be an Ironman even if he doesn't swim/bike/or run. My goal was to get to Hawaii to show people that blind/visually impaired athletes can race as hard, with as much mental toughness as anybody else. "To be tougher then the rest" was my goal, but now my goal is to show the world that even with my disease which has no cure, I am still racing for my Dad, who will die, but when I am blind I can still race for my Dad. He was walking, and now he is in a wheelchair barely able to use his arms. He taught me to be tough, to not complain, to be a good person and to chase my dreams. My dream is Hawaii before I lose my ability to ride my bike (probably next year), but now my goal is to get there before my sight fades, and before he loses his battle. I pray he doesn't lose the battle, but unfortunately I feel it is only a matter of time. I want to honor him the best I know how, and I would love to join the Team Blazeman. My Dad had just been diagnosed with ALS when we watched Jon battle in Hawaii... it was an eye opener for him to not give up... and for that we are appreciative. I just want to help honor him the best I can, and I would be honored to wear the Blazeman Logo, to show the world that I'm not racing for me, I'm racing for Dad.

All the best,
Ryan Van Praet
"Three time Ironman finisher; going blind, but fighting hard all the way."


Thursday, January 4th, 2007

Hello Jon-

I am writing to let you know your extraordinary story has impacted my life, and my unborn baby boys, in a most significant way. Back in August I watched your ironman footage on a sports documentary on TV. The narrated poetry was captivating! I thought your name, Jon Blais, was nice.

I did not know that I would be having a baby boy at the time, but strongly suspected so. I was simply open to not- so-common names. I thought, hmmm... Ive heard of Blair and Blain, but never Blais. I asked my friend what she thought of Blais as a name. She didnt care for it...

The following week, low and behold, I discovered my precious baby would be of a male gen der! Someone suggested getting onto a baby name finder website (happyhealthypregnancy.com) and typing something of significance to find a name association. I typed "seven", because so many things about this little guy points to this number. Guess what? Blais was the first boy name listed! Its even spelled the same way....

Blais(e) Pascal was a seventeenth century child prodigy. He died at 39 after being bed ridden for the last few years of his life. He was a mathemetician but wrote about spirituality and the purposefulness surrounding our lives during his latter years. I invite you to read some of his works.

I wanted to let you know that your poetry has made its way into little Jonathan Blais Conroy's scrapbook. I speak of you often and feel that there is no coincidence that you and Blaise Pascal have converged to create my special baby's name.

I will call him Blais... Everyone (besides the above friend) who hears his name LOVES IT and I am very quick to tell them your story. Please know your tenacious spirit is noticed and followed and will be remembered, for the rest of my days anyway.

I wrote because I thought I would want to know if someone named t-h-e-i-r baby after m-e. Know that your spirit will reign as I raise my little trailblazer. Your message is powerful. I will continue to pray for you and your family.

Love,
Dana
Indianapolis, IN

You have certainly created an impressive legacy with the ALS movement. Keep blazing on!!

Ive attached a photo, of him and me.... It was taken in early November. He is expected to arrive the first week of 07. Ill be sure to send photos. Take care!


Tuesday, January 2nd, 2007

Dear Jon:

Thank you for all you are doing for people with ALS- throughout the world- Bob Lee who serves on our Board of Directors has introduced you to me and certainly everyone at the Les Turner ALS Foundation in Chicago is very impressed and very moved by what you have accomplished.

Please tell me how we can join and be a part of the phenomenal effort that you, your family, friends and colleagues have started.

I look forward to hearing from someone in your organization.

Wendy Abrams
Executive Director
Les Turner ALS Foundation
5550 W. Touhy Avenue, Suite 302
Skokie, IL. 60077 (note new address)
847-754-6011 Direct (NEW)
847-679-3311 General
847-679-9109 Fax
888-ALS-1107 Toll Free
www.lesturnerals.org

United in the Worldwide Fight Against ALS/MND
International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations
www.alsmndalliance.org

2007 Join Us:
Chicago Wolves- Saturday, Jan. 20th
"Hope Through Caring" Award Dinner, Sat., March 10
ALS Tag Days, entire month of May
ALS Walk4Life, Saturday, September 8

Monday, January 1st, 2007

"How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world."
Anne Frank

Ginger


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