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Stamford Triathlete Rides for His Son
Doug Schwartz bikes to raise funds for six-year-old fighting leukemia
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Stamford, CT | Added on July 25, 2013 At 09:55 AM

Stamford's Doug Schwartz spends much of his time like this, at home with his family -- with his wife, Debra, and his children, Charlie and Eli.

But Schwartz also spends a lot of time on his bike.

"I started triathlons 18 years ago," he says.  "I did one, two, then the next year I did 13."

Eighteen years later, he's been doing them ever since.

As a triathlete, Schwartz has biked in MS rides and cancer rides, but this weekend will be different.  Schwartz will bike in a ride for cancer for his six-year-old son Eli.  Eli is fighting leukemia.

"Eli is a big boy in his little self," Schwartz says.  "He has a lot of energy.  He loves sports:  he loves playing soccer, baseball and swimming."

Eli was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in February.  Schwartz says his son is in a hospital every other week.

"Until his chemotherapy cures him, he'll be in the hospital for four days, if not five," he says.  "It's tough for a kid his age to be in bed in a hospital for four days."

This weekend Schwartz will bike 181 miles in the CT Challenge, a fundraiser that supports therapy programs for cancer survivors in hospitals across Connecticut.

"He will be a survivor," Schwartz says.  "In 323 days. CT Challenge has its [Center for Survivorship in Southport] and a lot of good programs.  Hopefully, Eli can benefit from those."

Schwartz says like the CT Challenge, his son's path will be long and difficult.

"Every day you have different struggles and parallels [to triathlons]," he says.  "Are you going to make your blood count?  Is chemo going to work?  What's going to affect me now?"

"You can parallel with Eli because he doesn't know the road he's traveling on.  He doesn't know what's going to come next, but he keeps on going.  He's really brave, he's a fighter, and he's a tough kid."

Schwartz says he would do 50 iron man challenges if it meant ensuring his son never had to deal with cancer.

"If you told me my son would never get cancer, I would do one every day," he says.

The CT Challenge ride will take place July 26 and 27 at the Fairfield County Hunt Club.  For more on the CT Challenge, visit www.ctchallenge.org.  

For more on a swimming fundraiser Schwartz is doing in August for Eli, visit http://give.stvincents.org/page.aspx?pid=917&tab=0&frsid=1997.


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