Thursday, February 19, 2009

Join me in "Making a Difference"

Well it's been almost 8 months since my surgery and I am doing very well. From a health standpoint, my incontinence is 99% better and my male functions are making significant progress and I am very pleased with how I feel. I seriously am in the best shape of my life, as you saw I ran my first 5k a few weeks back and am also running in another on March 22nd. If you have read my blog you know that I am training to do my first Triathlon. It will be a super sprint triathlon and its called the St Anthony's Meek and Mighty and will be on April 25th in St Petersburg, FL. I have decided to raise money for the Athletes for a Cure/Prostate Cancer Foundation and registered myself as an athlete so I can raise money for prostate cancer research. I personally had a great outcome with my situation, but others are going through rough times. Because my outcome was so good I want to give back and do something that will help others now and into the future. I am asking each of you to help out with the cause. Every donation counts no matter if its $1 or $10,000 it all goes toward research to fight this disease. Please join me in the fight and together we can make a difference. I again am humbled by all the wonderful post and emails of encouragement and thank you all for you consideration.

Prostate cancer is the most common non-skin cancer in America, affecting one in six men. Men are 35% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than women are to be diagnosed with breast cancer. Athletes for a Cure, a program of the Prostate Cancer Foundation, is a new fundraising and awareness program to assist individual athletes in their quest to raise money for better treatments and a cure for prostate cancer. The Prostate Cancer Foundation is the world's largest philanthropic source of support for prostate cancer research with a simple, yet urgent goal: to find better treatments and a cure for recurrent prostate cancer.I would appreciate your support and ask you click on this link http://athletes.kintera.org/other/darrenritch?faf=1&e=2193461926 to visit my personal web page and help me in my efforts to support Prostate Cancer Foundation .
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Thank you again for your support!

Your Friend,
Darren

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Mission Accomplished!



Its eleven thirty am on Sunday February 11th and I am writing to tell you that today I have accomplished what seemed to me many weeks ago to be a task that I would never complete in my lifetime. On a very cold and chilly morning (30 degrees), I got up at 5:15am to eat some breakfast in preparation for my first 5k race. It was cold in the house and I could have easily laid back down under those warm covers but all I could think about is completing my goal in finishing a 5k race. Peggy and Tyler got up and we drove over to the hobby lobby parking lot and met up with my trainer Amber Toole and my brother Chad at 6:45am. As you read in past blog posts Amber has been my trainer and we trained together for this race. We arrived at the race start line around 6:55am and I felt really bad for Peggy, Tyler and my brother Chad for having to stand in 30 degree weather to support me in the race. My wife and son have been my rock through my training and it was so comforting to know they were there to cheer me on. I was also glad my brother Chad and sister-in-law Linda were there to support me as well. How could I fail with all the loving support. Amber and the rest of us warmed up for about 10 minutes and they called 5 minutes to race start. I was a little concerned because I never trained in weather below 50 degrees and it was 30. I was a little nervous and very excited waiting for the race start. The gun finally sounded and I waved to my family (with the video cameras) as I ran by and we were off. I think the freezing weather numbed my lungs because it never bothered me during the race. Amber and I stayed together during the entire race and it really helped me to have her encouragement. Another surprise was the number of steep hills throughout the race, I had not trained on hills this size and it was a little intimidating at first. Once I made it through the first big hill I began to gain confidence and we continued on the path. Along the way I had to slow the pace slightly to catch my breath but keep pushing on. When we saw the finish line with 2 tenths of a mile left I felt a rush of emotion and when we came around the corner and headed toward the finish line I felt an exhilarating rush of accomplishment run through my body. It was an unbelievable since of accomplishment capped off with a big hug from Peggy and Tyler. I was so thankful for that great hug and became emotional thinking back about everything we have been through together as a family this past 7 months. I am so thankful that God has blessed me with Peggy and Tyler, I couldn't made it through all of this without them.

My goal was to finish the race and I finished in 32:09. That was a personal best throughout my training times. I ran this race to show cancer that it would not defeat me and I also ran for my wife Peggy and son Tyler because they were always there for me and finally I dedicated and ran for everyone who has been affected by prostate cancer, whether you are a survivor, had a family member affected, or have just been diagnosed.

Thanks again for ALL the post and emails of encouragement. I want to leave you with this message. "Your only limits in life are what you say you can't do"

-Darren

Video of my big finish:


video


My Trainer Amber:




Start Line at the Ocala Marathon 5k: