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What I really do!

5 years ago UCF launched a formal initiative titled “Awareness Through Sport”.  I wanted to share a little of the history behind this initiative as it is now my career!  As and ex-jock, I am extremely thankful of how sport has played a major part in my life.  Sport gives us all a platform to be on a stage in front of many people focusing on that event and the participants taking part in that activity.  SO…when I began to volunteer with UCF and was looking for ways in which I could be of value to the organization whose mission was so important to me, I continually gravitated to the sport initiatives.  At that time, UCF had a partnership with Iron Girl as a National Beneficiary.  They had a small team that allowed participants to raise money and participate in the various Iron Girl events around the country.  The first event I saw with UCF was the Iron Girl Triathlon in Columbia, Maryland.  The team had about 15 participants in the event and wow were they energetic and passionate.  I remember the pre-race dinner where I had the opportunity to talk to many of the women who were racing the next day and was truly inspired.  This obviously left a mark as I quickly worked with Kelly Lance in our office to see if there was a way to build a team that could become ambassadors of UCF and raise awareness around our community for the great work that we do.

This was not easy, but we indeed did it!  The TEAM has grown to a point where we will have about 500 members this year and above all, we have continued to raise awareness and funds to help support young adults who are battling cancer and their loved ones.  Wow have we come a long way Kelly!  I can still remember Kelly and I talking through the wall that separated our offices about who needed help fundraising and who needed help riding their bike or getting the right size tri suit.

TEAM FIGHT has never been about a one race, one personal record or even one person.  TEAM FIGHT is a support system for over 500 people who lean on each other when they need it.  TEAM FIGHT has become a support program where people can share their stories about cancer with like-minded people who just plain CARE!  So the title AWARENESS THROUGH SPORT might have just morphed into AWARENESS AND SUPPORT THROUGH SPORT!  Now that is cool and powerful.

I have learned so much in the last 5 years about the power of the spirit behind TEAM FIGHT.  That spirit continues to be magnetic as each year new people are introduced to the team and welcomed with open arms.  We laugh, we cry, we FIGHT …as a TEAM.  Strength in numbers…. That is TEAM FIGHT!

TEAM FIGHT’S success has been the foundation and platform that has supported many of the other programs of UCF.  By attracting large numbers of people who we could then share our mission with and they could spread the word to our community, our region, our country.

So why sport programs?  Not because it is cool, but it IS!  Not because people are competitive!  Not because you get a cool uniform!  Not because you can get entries to closed out races!  BUT because sport is one of the few platforms that can put a TEAM in front of thousands of people at a time where they can’t help but get noticed.

So my ex-jock theory/plan is simple, this year 500 people will be wearing the TEAM FIGHT uniform and best yet they will be parading their passionate selves in front of hundreds of thousands of people!  There will be a SEA OF YELLOW at over 20 events this year.  These generous people are our magnets.  People will gravitate towards them and ask, “What is TEAM FIGHT” and these people will share their stories about cancers affect on their lives. THAT IS AWARENESS and this is TEAM FIGHT!  Come fight with us

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Posted by on May 14, 2012 in Uncategorized


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It Was Never About the RUN

The resounding message I have continue to have in my mind and heart about the Run Across America was that it was never about a run.  This journey was about the people.

This journey was about:

  • Laura reading the story of Carlos, a young adult battling cancer who had to tell his 10-year-old that he had cancer.
  • Asking Mike to head out on the run 100+ miles in 6 days even though he was preparing to run the Boston Marathon a week later.
  • Having Eric keep us on track and reminding us that this “Was Not Hard” compared to what those who are battling cancer have to go through.
  • Learning of Zody’s story about resigning from her job to follow her passion
  • One of our own, Rachel, willing to step in when numbers were low to support the team… no questions asked
  • Kelsey, a young adult cancer survivor, sharing her camp songs in the van on a long and tiring midnight shift when we needed a giggle.
  • Getting to know Harmony who took time away from her family and husband Ryan who is in the middle of his FIGHT.  I still remember the tears and the hug as she boarded the plane back to WA
  • Tearing up when I learned that Debbie and Senior stepped in and ran a few segments when the team needed more support
  • Alyssa renting a car to drive to some random town in WV so she could meet up with the team and add some mileage without adding any burden to the team
  • Seeing Meg not lose one ounce of energy before, during and after her time with the team
  • Brock continuing to grab the yellow flag and make sure we kept focused on the mission
  • Giving Ellen a hug when I finally had a chance to meet her
  • Seeing Kiersten roll her ankle on her first day and remain with the team every step of the way
  • Seeing Allan playing soccer with the kids after a long day of running
  • Getting to know Pastor John and realizing the impact he has had on the Rev3 family and they on him
  • Kati and Paul taking time away from a vacation to put miles in to support the team
  • Sitting back and watching the team interact with communities and sharing with them the Mission of UCF
  • Chris always being on hand to provide content for laughter no matter where we were
  • Carter/Conrad/Colton/Carmine taking time out of his schedule to join us less than a week after leg surgery
  • Amy, Meg and Kelsey leading the team to the finish line
  • A young woman named Ashley who continued to educate me on a hourly basis
  • Understanding Krista’s mothers battle
  • Holding hands each day with people that we really didn’t know 3 weeks ago and sharing our inspiration through words and tears
  • Seeing Mike join in again on the run on the dirt back roads outside of Blacksburg because he wanted to help us out
  • Sharpie always willing to do “something” to make us laugh when we needed it
  • Jay grabbing the camera to make sure that everyone was well represented and working to keep the website update in his “free” time
  • Knowing that when it was time to stop, eat and rest that Debbie, Senior and Chris would be there waiting with open arms

This was never about running and I am so thankful to everyone that was involved in this journey.  It has truly left a mark in my heart and I am still working to understand the magnitude.  This has truly enhanced my appreciation for the great lengths that people will go for others.  True selfless acts and I am so proud to call these people friends!


Posted by on April 19, 2012 in Uncategorized


Preparation and Perspective

Today I am heading back out to meet up with the Run Across America Team.  It has been a little over a week since I had to leave them and I am looking forward to getting back to the journey.  I know that they are tired and I have been thinking about how I can try to re-energize them when I see them this morning.  So yesterday during my lunch time, I drove over to the University of Maryland Greenebaum Cancer Center.  Why did I do this?  I actually wasn’t planning on it, it just kind of happened.  I needed perspective and that is where I usually get a harsh dose of reality.

I have been there many times, but this time was different.  I walked over to the infusion center waiting room where I have been many times and where UCF had offered coffee to the patients awaiting treatment many times.  This time I just walked in and sat down and observed.  I scanned over the jam packed waiting room and had many feelings run through my body.  “I am sure these people would give anything to be able to go Run Across the Country with friends rather than be HERE”!  I thought of Eric Opdyke’s words a few weeks ago.  “This isn’t that hard”.  These individuals are facing something that is real and hard.  I sat there for about 15 minutes and watched patient by patient as they were called back behind the doors to receive treatment for some type of cancer.  Patients of all ages, some with friends and family, but many alone.  It saddens me that so many people have to battle this disease and it really hit me that some of the people in that room might not survive.

So, why did I feel the need to do this?  This is why we are running!  Well, as the team has thinned a bit and the end of the run is approaching, I know they are very tired and I am hoping that I can lend some perspective and energy.  We all face adversity in our lives at some point and what I have learned through the years is that you have a choice on how you can face that adversity.  I prefer a “Half Full” attitude.  Having hope and optimism in the face of adversity.  It is appropriate that this comes to mind for me as Half Full was the link that connected UCF and Rev3. 

It is that mentality that I will bring and share with the Run Across America Team today.  That attitude will get us to Monday the 16th when we run to the Georgetown Hospital Lombardi Cancer Center.  It is that attitude I will share with the team as I remind them of all of the people who are being injected with their chemotherapy doses as we run.  We will be strong for those people and I will run farther than I have ever run before and it will feel good!


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Posted by on April 10, 2012 in Uncategorized



I was not at all prepared for how emotional the Run Across America would be for me!  Probably an understatement, but this will leave a lasting mark on me for many reasons some of which I am unable to put into words this time.  I am going to post a quick entry of some pictures and what they mean to me.  So here goes!


This is the team from Leg #1.

Eric, Zody, Brian, Kelsey, Ashley, Harmony and Charlie

Nervous, excited, cold and passionate!



Kelsey and Harmony getting ready to do Mile #1 from Oceanside, CA

Kelsey was out cheerleader always ready to belt an impromptu summer camp song and make everyone laugh.  Unbelievable energy and passion.  Couldn’t get her to stop thanking me when all I could think of doing was thanking her!  An unbelievable young woman!

Harmony, who I have written about before, is just full of love and passion you can’t help but want to hug!  Love her and thoughts and prayers continue to be with Ryan and his FIGHT!


Laura- Mother of twin 6 year olds making a commitment to spend 21 days running across the country for those who can’t!  I am in awe of her strength and proud to call her FRIEND!


Susan Zody- WOW!  In the middle of a life/career change working to find her call that she knows is somewhere where kids are involved!  She is an amazing woman who is running for the entire 21 days.  Her emotions and passion are piercing.  I can’t wait to get back to continue our “search for your career that is in line with your passion” conversations!  Love her determination!


There is more to come and believe me it is hard to hold back tears when I think about what my friends are doing.  Help us make a difference and donate to a cause that is second to none!


Posted by on March 30, 2012 in Uncategorized


“It’s Not That Hard”

I think this title is so appropriate for my first blog from the Run Across America.  I thank Eric Opdyke for these words of wisdom.  We stood in a circle, holding hands and sharing our daily inspiration.  This is a tradition the UCF has carried over from a 10-year-old tradition from 4K for Cancer.  We went around and shared words.  I shared and introduction to the group of Meg Shipman.  Meg will be flying in on Thursday to run with the team.  Unfortunately I will not be here to make the in-person proper introduction, so I tried.  Meg is a Survivor/Fighter in every sense of the words.  I know she will leave a lasting impression on the team and inspire them to continue this journey with strength and determination as she has in her cancer battle.  I will be asking Meg to blog and share her Run Across America experience with you all.

It was Eric’s turn and he chimed in…..”there were many times out there where I was hot and tired and my legs did not feel so good.  I thought of those who were going through treatment and realize that this pales in comparison” and he marched on.  Those words brought a tear to my eye because this is NOT easy, but Eric gets it and it sums up many of the comments throughout the days.  Nobody has complained and everyone is such a trooper.  I am very sad that I will be leaving for a few days tomorrow.  I feel I am letting my team down and leaving them hanging.  I will be praying for them and will be with them in spirit as they march on.


I am getting ready to run tonight and I am anticipating a very emotional 8 hours.  A very special person is on my team.  Harmony Davis is someone I met a few months ago when she reached out to the group through and introduction from a local blogger. She is from Pullman, WA and her husband Ryan was just diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in October.  She, Ryan and their 3 boys have been a high-octane boost for me on many occasions thus far.  There faith and spirit are amazing and I am so honored to be able to share this time with Harmony.  So tonight/tomorrow morning I will run further than I have the last 3 legs in honor of Ryan and his courageous fight that has left him with a titanium leg and you know what????

This is Not that hard!!!!  We Run!

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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in Uncategorized


From MD to CA

When I found out that I needed to drive one of the RV support vehicles from MD to CA, needless to say I wasn’t all that happy!  BUT, it did give me some more time to think about this RUN and the people who were taking part in it.

We left from MD on Tuesday and started our journey which we thought would be 4 days.  Now those of you that know me, I tend to leave some wiggle room so I won’t be late.  So….. Luckily I was able to persuade my good friend Kevin, aka Spurdogg, to some with me to share the “experience”.  Little did I know he was basically going to watch me drive and entertain me.  See..I have control issues so of course I drove the entire trip minus about 3 hours somewhere in Oklahoma.

The trip was pretty uneventful and we soon began to discuss how this RV was not too bad for two adults.  The challenge now was how the hell were they able to say it sleeps 7?  Yeah Right!  I guess we will worry about that when the time comes and that will be tonight!  So for 3 days I got to bust Spurriers chops and tried to help him realize that he spent the entire time in the RV on some type of electronic device (Phone, Ipod, Laptop).  I think he needs help.  He also mentioned that he really didn’t tell anyone he was going on the trip and again, I called him out because he spent the next 3 days calling everyone and telling them what he was doing.

So entertaining to listen to his story telling as he explained to the dozens of people that he called about what we were doing.  Good stuff.

Here are a few pics of the places we passed along the way.  I say passed, because I was NOT stopping to sight see even though I had a continuous bird in my ear chirping about what great things we could see if we just drove a few hours out-of-the-way.  NOPE, remember I am on a “schedule”!  🙂

Flagstaff                                           Mojave Desert                                       Somewhere in CA

Sunset in Tennessee                          Windmills in New Mexico

So, 2700 miles, a few RV parks, and a Walmart parking lot we land in San Diego to get this thing rolling.  I am really looking forward to this experience.  As the team starts to roll in, I am so thankful for their excitement and dedication to be a part of this journey.  It will truly be special and something that we will likely never forget, but most of all we will be spreading awareness about some of the issues that young adults face when diagnosed with cancer.  Everyone on the team realizes this and I look forward to sharing UCF’s mission as we run across the USA!  GAME ON!

Laura and Chris freezing their feet off and Sharpie wondering what the hell she agreed to!






Oceanside, CA pier

This is where it will all start at Midnight!


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Posted by on March 25, 2012 in Uncategorized


Why I FIGHT…or in this case RUN!

So for my first post on my new blog I thought I would share what I have been meaning to share with the Run Across America Team.  A few months ago, the team was asked to share some thoughts and answer some questions….So here goes!

My Peeps!

Name/Nickname: Brian, Sats, B, Hey You…..

Where do you live: Clarksville, MD

Tell us about your kids/significant other/pets: I have been married to my wife Liz for 13 years and we have 2 daughters that keep me in line (Danielle-11, Lauren – 7)

How did you get involved with the Run Across America? Well…This guy named Charlie told me that the Rev3 family wanted to do something epic to raise awareness and fund for UCF.  Of course there was a catch, he wanted me to participate.  I gladly accepted and haven’t looked back.  I am honored to be side by side with such great people.

What leg of the run are you doing? After driving an RV from VA to CA, yeah!, I will be running from Oceanside to Phoenix, then I will be back for the last week to 10 days.

Why the heck are you doing it? Well, I have “worked” at the Ulman Cancer Fund for the last 4 years.  My inspiration to make a career change from the corporate world is my sister Holly.  She is a two time cancer survivor and an amazing woman, sister, wife, daughter and mother of 3.  Holly was diagnosed for the second time after giving birth to her third child, Joey.  Her battle woke me up and inspired me to make some changes in my life and with my wife’s support, I ventured on a journey away from a job that kept me traveling 5-6 days a week and away from my family.  I landed at UCF and have been working to develop programmatic platforms using sport to engage people in the FIGHT against cancer.  This journey has been amazing and I am so grateful for all of the amazing stories I get to be learn from and all of the amazing people I get to meet.  Cancer Changes Lives, but with all of the great people that continue to come together to FIGHT, So WILL WE!

What are you most excited for on the run? Simple, I get to make some new friends!

What are you most nervous about? Being type “A”, I know the UCF Staff will not argue, I am nervous about not knowing all of the details about running, eating, sleeping, driving and all of the logistics.  I have to be ok with the fact that we will just make it happen!

Favorite training song: Usually listen to one of my daughters mixes, Katy Perry, Lady GaGa, Chris Brown, Nicki Minaj, B.O.B., Rihanna..  How about that????

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Posted by on March 20, 2012 in Uncategorized