Ironman Coeur d’Alene is for Dwayne - Mickey Witte Ⓥ: Triathlete. Neuroscientist. Vegan.

Ironman Coeur d’Alene is for Dwayne

18 Aug Blog | Comments
Ironman Coeur d’Alene is for Dwayne

For those who don’t know this, my journey into the sport of triathlon began because of ALS, as Ryan’s beloved law professor had been diagnosed with it. In an effort to raise funds and awareness, I raced my first triathlon along with a team of law students the following year, which was dubbed the “Tri for Gey” in honor of Professor Gey (pronounced “guy”).

Here we are nearly nine years later and science has still not done much in terms of truly finding a “cure” for it. As a neuroscientist, I was given the opportunity to work in a lab that studied this disease during my post-doctoral years. On the bright side, I could see that science was making strides – but on the not-so-bright side, they just weren’t fast enough strides to help save Professor Gey from the cruel disease that would rob him of the use of his body, while his mind remained perfectly intact – which to me, is the probably the most horrible thing about ALS – one’s mind is fine, but one’s body just doesn’t work anymore.

This weekend, I’ll be racing Ironman Coeur d’Alene in honor of my friend and fellow endurance cyclist, Dwayne Hylton, who was just recently diagnosed with ALS. I got to know Dwayne and his awesome girlfriend Sheila on one very long Saturday in August of 2014, when we’d decided to ride about 155 miles or so in the dead of summer for an “island tour of southwest Florida” with a bunch of other crazy amigos. Why? Well, just because. There is just something about meeting other people who like to do things like this – physical and mental endurance adventures – that bonds you with them for life.

Island Tour of SWFL 2014

Island Tour of SWFL – Aug. 2nd, 2014

I’ll never forget the HUGE SMILE and tremendous positive energy that Dwayne carried with him throughout that entire long, sweltering, hot day on the bike. When I heard the news of Dwayne’s diagnosis this summer, I was devastated for him, as I know all too well that this disease is a nasty one and it shows no prejudice, nor mercy, for its victims. When I saw Dwayne last weekend at a ride being held in his honor by his cycling family, he still had that signature smile and positivity. He told me that, “it will NOT beat me.” I am in awe.

Galiz Ride for Dwayne - Aug. 13th, 2016

Galiz Ride for Dwayne – Aug. 13th, 2016

I realize that I am very lucky to have my health and strength, so I want to dedicate this race to Dwayne and to all others who are fighting tougher battles than we’ll probably ever know. We only have one life, so we might as well continue to test the limits of our bodies and minds, right?!

In health,here is the best website host


*p.s. To follow Dwayne’s battle against ALS, click here. To learn more about the war on ALS being forged by Mary Ann and Bob Blais, the parents of Jon “Blazeman” Blais, click here.

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