Something to smile about

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In July, More Than Sport was able to fund 20 cleft palate surgeries, thanks to our partnerships with GFNY and Operation Smile. Billions of people around the world currently lack access to safe and affordable surgeries. Operation Smile, with help from partners such as More Than Sport, provides free cleft palate surgeries for children and young adults in more than sixty countries.

The GFNY championship event facilitated the fundraising necessary to provide these operations. The grueling 100-mile bike ride pushes athletes to their limits, and it was great to see so many who were willing to take the time to contribute to bringing about global change. Through the Gran Fondo New York event, we were able to have a significant impact in partnership with Operation Smile.

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Wild Rose Triathlon in Calgary

Recently, More Than Sport teamed up with the YWCA of Calgary to raise money for women and their families who are struggling with poverty, homelessness, family violence and isolation. The YWCA focuses on empowering women to move from a place of vulnerability to one of resilience, and provides both transitional housing and emergency shelter.

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On June 26th, the Wild Rose Triathlon took place in Calgary. More Than Sport used this opportunity to raise and donate money to the YWCA of Calgary to help support their cause. Below is an example of a success story described by the YWCA.

Mary’s success story:

With her three children in tow, Mary arrived at the door of the Sheriff King Home emergency shelter confused, scared and highly emotional after fleeing a violent relationship. YWCA staff quickly learned how volatile Mary’s situation was and how low her self-esteem had fallen. She was unsure if staff could help her start a new life but knew the YWCA was the place to be. Mary’s partner, who physically, emotionally, verbally and mentally abused her had previously convinced her to follow him to his native country. There he continued his abuse and threatened her with the loss of her children if she left. Finally, she was able to return to Canada with her children and make her way to the YWCA for support and security. She was ready to make significant changes in her life that would ensure the safety of her children and allow for a healthier future for them all. After just one week in the shelter, YWCA staff noticed a large change in Mary’s behavior. She not only honored all appointments with staff but attended all group meetings and was a participant in the healing process. Mary followed through with all decisions she made including going to court to pursue a parental order and application to prevent her partner from removing the children from the country. Mary’s ability to question and brainstorm with a counsellor before making decisions on any situation was exceptional. She also proved to have all her domestic violence information at her fingertips, which she used to her advantage during 1 on 1 meetings with staff and in her input at Women’s group sessions. She has had a significantly positive influence on many women who attended these group meetings. Mary met all her goals and discharged to a second stage shelter, acknowledging her kids’ need for safety and continuous support in domestic violence education.

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Bringing More than Sport Down Under!

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Triathlon is a sport which can offer so much to many people. It has not only given me a whole new circle of friends and lost me a few toenails, but it has pushed me to achieve things I never thought possible. Until recently, I had no idea triathlon would take me down the path of giving back to the community.

Sparking inspiration

A recent trip to Kona to support my friends racing in the Ironman World Championships was my first introduction to the inspirational team at MORE Than Sport. I met some of the MORE Than Sport ambassadors whilst helping them put together kid’s bikes, which were then donated to the local Kona community. I was immediately drawn to their story and it left me wondering; how can I do more to give back?

It is such a simple but powerful idea, use the sport that I love and its huge network of athletes to assist the local communities that support us and host our races. I knew this was going to leave a far greater impact than simply just raising much needed funds; it is a tangible difference that we could all support. Although, it was just building a bike the experience was cemented in to my memory bank from my time in Kona and I can only imagine the smiles on the kids’ faces when they saw the bikes.

In search of a more meaningful Ironman

After watching my friend’s race I was inspired to sign up for my first Ironman – albeit after a few beers and a bet with some mates at the Kona Brewery!

In my lead up to Ironman Port Macquarie I considered fundraising for a charity so that on race day when things got tough I could dig deep and remember that people had donated for me to finish this event. I reflected on my time in Kona and was immediately inspired to get back in touch with MORE Than Sport. I just knew I had to do something similar in Australia!

After a few false starts in Port Macquarie, I decided to focus my attention to Ironman Cairns. Although my own personal IM debut had been and gone by the time the event was held it still holds meaning for my journey as I was using the sport I am so passionate about to give back to a local community.

Cooking for a Cause

We established a partnership with REAP Cairns to support their work diverting surplus food from landfill to the underprivileged local community. In under two years, REAP Cairns has prevented over 50 tons of quality surplus food from being wasted – the equivalent of 150,000 meals – that were instead delivered to 18 local charities and schools who provide food relief for the vulnerable in our community.

Our event was held at St Andrews Catholic College who kindly let us use their commercial kitchen for the cook up. We had 20 athletes and some of their support crew in the kitchen peeling avocados, dicing vegetables, crushing garlic and chopping herbs to cook up some nutritious meals for those in need. Most of the athletes had never thought of giving back to the community in which they were going to be racing, so I was thrilled to be able to enable them with that opportunity. It also gave athletes a chance to meet fellow competitors and take a little bit of pressure off prior to race day. As an athlete I know how stressful race week can be so it was humbling to see them each give up their time so close to the event. A total of 160 meals were prepared on the day from quality excess food and delivered to Youthlink – an organization that provides emergency food relief and support to vulnerable youth in Cairns and Trinity Bay High School who provide food relief to students experiencing food insecurity.

From the athletes:

“It was our first time in Cairns and the whole week we were there, we felt nothing but support from volunteers, fellow athletes and all the locals. We felt such a huge sense of community and we fed off that energy the entire week leading to the race. It felt only right to give back to the community that allowed us to live, train and race in their city”

Nicole Norman

“Cooking for a Cause was a great initiative in the lead up to my race in Cairns. I often travel to different destinations to race, and during race week the triathlon community certainly takes over town. The opportunity to give something back to the local community, and contribute in this way, made my race in Cairns all the more rewarding – and hopefully meant those less fortunate than me were able to devour a healthy and nutritious meal.”

Janelle

Reflecting on the experience, It was great for me to meet a fantastic bunch of athletes who were so supportive of the initiative and with their assistance, I can’t wait to start planning our next event!

A huge thank you again to REAP Cairns, St Andrews Catholic College, Chef Sam, the VCE hospitality students and of course – all the athletes and their support crew who cooked up a storm for those in need – I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did!

I am excited to keep working with MORE Than Sport and see what more we can do down here in Australia!

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Climb For Nepal

 

 

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Doing MORE in Texas

By Sara Madden

On May 12, 2016 I boarded a plane to Texas with the ticket I’d purchased the day before. I’d considered going there to cheer for my amazing friend and pro triathlete Bree Wee several times, but always talked myself out of it. I had to get a solid weekend of training in, I had to go to work, I had to blah, blah, blah. Then I saw this…

Bree's Post

 

This sealed the deal, so me and my cowboy boots were Texas-bound ya’ll!  As a More Than Sport athlete, I was invited to represent the team and DO MORE than just cheer for my fellow Ironmen, I was going to help them change lives.

After a long  and amazing weekend of cheering and working, I stood in the hospital room I had been waiting to get to, and went to hand my very own finishers medal (from my first Ironman) to a little girl.  I could not have been prepared for what I would feel at that moment.  The wonderful memory of Mike Reilly saying “Sara Madden, YOU are an IRONMAN!” came rushing in and I burted out “Hi, I’m Sara, and this is the medal they gave me when I finished my first Ironman in Lake Placid. It was really hard, and they give you a medal at the end for being strong and not giving up…” I choked on the tears as I held out that nickel and blue and red medal to her.

“I want you to have my medal because you are much braver than any Ironman!”

One last time, I held in my hands that feeling that wells up when you realize you can overcome something that seems impossible, painful and even terrifying, and then gave it to a little girl who needed to know that she too was brave, more so than I will ever be.  My medal was finally in its rightful home.

Often in my life as an Ironman, I have wondered why any sane person would ever sign up for such torture.  To get a finisher medal?  To prove that I could do what I once imagined was impossible?  Those are great reasons, but I could never shake the feeling that I was missing a puzzle piece.  After this experience I can confidently say I have a WHY that is bigger than a medal.  It took me five years to understand that I needed to experience the pain and fear and victory of Ironman so I could meet some amazing people that would alter my life in the span of one weekend.

 

 

George Bember- Ironman
You would never know by looking at him that he is a cancer survivor himself, but 26 year old George Bember celebrated 10 years of being cancer free by racing his first Ironman.  While most Ironman Texas finishers were still hobbling around, and rightfully so, George and his girlfriend Christine were helping us gift the Finisher medals to children on the very floor where he had been a patient in 2006.
 “I did this race to honor those I met in the hospital, those I lost and those who are still fighting.  I wanted to raise money, honor God for healing me, and to make it something bigger than myself… I didn’t want Ironman to be about me,” George, who has also run several marathons, explains. “Before cancer I thought running a mile was endurance running. I never thought I could run a marathon… or ever do an Ironman. The tipping point was the Snowdrop Ultra and running for something bigger than yourself. I would have never considered endurance racing otherwise!”
“We loved seeing people come into the hospital and visit us. When you receive a gift that is something so special to the person who earned it, and you know they are giving it up for you, it can be really impactful, empowering and inspiring.”
Bree Wee- Professional Triathlete
“I definitely thought about those children out there. It was my first race where I had my medal promised at the finish line so I knew no matter the difficulty of the day I had to finish. I gave my word. And an Ironman compared to the children’s battle with cancer is minor!”
Carrie McCoy- Professional Triathlete
“I wanted to finish. I wanted to give my medal to the Texas Childrens Cancer Center to be donated and I found inner fire from that… I ran on heart, and so when the storms came in I just kept on running, and when it hailed we just kept running and when they tried to get off the course…we just kept running… I see so many posts of just how amazing it was that we raced in this weather and all the troubles of this Ironman … But it’s just a race, it is one day and it’s a gift. There are much greater battles that are being fought from families who lost their homes due to the floods… or the kids we donated our finisher medals to who are fighting cancer.”
Iron Dave- Ironman 
“Ironman Texas would be my 4th Ironman, and in the years I started this sport, sadly I have never raced for another cause or meaning but for myself.  I have many friends who have overcame a lot to compete, and I’m blessed that I have not had to deal with any real hardships in my journey.  These kids are showing more courage, intensity and fearlessness in one day than I have in my lifetime.  Whatever issues or challenges I faced in Texas, it pales in comparison to the battles these kids fight.  I decided to donate my medal because if a medal I earned can inspire one kid to fight a little harder it will be worth it.  I just hope they smiled a little brighter that day.  The reality is, these kids are the ones inspiring all of us.”

 

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Paula's Medals

George Gives Away a Medal

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Table of Medals

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Cuba

In April  2016, MORE than Sport athlete Madi Serpico traveled to the National Sport School in Havana, Cuba to donate triathlon, swimming, biking and running apparel and equipment to local athletes.

Join in her story below.

*Special thanks to Strava, Skechers and Tri It Multisport for their incredible support and donations*

 

 

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More Than Sport in Uganda

In June, our partnership with Drink Maple allowed for the distribution of 102 water filters in Uganda, which supplied clean drinking water to more than five thousand people. Volunteers from the Kona area, many of whom were doctors or other medical personnel, set up temporary medical clinics in Uganda to treat people dealing with illnesses. Whenever someone came through with a water borne illness such as typhoid, one of our More Than Sport volunteers would teach them how to use a water filter and then give them one to take home. This is exemplary of the kind of sustainable, long-term solutions More Than Sport is always working towards in communities around the world.

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Ecuador Earthquake Relief

 

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On Monday April 16, 2016 a 7.8 magnitude earthquake occurred in Ecuador and devastation occurred in many different villages. There were a total of 272 deaths and at least 2,527 injuries. There is still a lot of work to be done to help with people who continue to suffer. Penaherrera of the emergency management office told CNN, “The lack of water and communication remains a big problem.”

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This is where More than Sport came in to assist with the problem. Thanks to the support of our partners EMJ, Velofix, Drink Maple, and QT2 we were able to provide 450 water filters to those suffering.  Through the support of our partners on the ground thousands of people now have access to the clean water they desperately need.

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Although there has been so much devastation in Ecuador, there are many people that are coming together to do MORE and help in whatever way they can.  There are many families that are so thankful for the help that was provided.

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Bike Build in St. George

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John F. Kennedy once said, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”  With this belief in mind More than Sport and partner Flo Cycling recently hosted a bike build and giveaway event in St. George, Utah. Throughout the course of the Ironman Expo we built 150 bikes to donate to underprivileged kids in the community.

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These bikes are not only a great mode of transportation and fun, but have also proven to measurably increase children’s school attendance, grades, attitude and overall fitness as they move into adulthood.

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A big “thank you” to Linsey Corbin, Brent McMahon and The Learning Center for Families for making this a great weekend!

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MORE Than Sport teams up with local charities to support Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers at the 2016 Memorial Hermann IRONMAN® North American Championship Texas.

MORE Than Sport – the global brand for good in sport – has partnered with two Texas based nonprofits, Competing for Hope and the L3 Foundation, to host a post race medal donation supporting Texas children fighting pediatric cancer and blood disorders.

All athletes participating in the 2016 Memorial Hermann IRONMAN® North American Championship Texas on May 14th are invited to donate their finisher medal to MORE Than Sport for this unique program.  Donated medals, freshly adorned with a custom ribbon from the Snowdrop Foundation, will be gifted to patients at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers during a visit from a team of athletes and industry partners on Monday May 16th.

“As a parent, it is incredible to see the kids getting recognition” says Scott Ahrendt, who founded the L3 Foundation in honor of his son Landon, who sadly lost his battle with cancer in 2014.  “To have these athletes not only give something to these kids, but come in and spend time with them is really impactful.  Landon received a medal during treatment and we still have it. We will always have it.”

“Nothing says grit, dedication and determination like an IRONMAN athlete and we look forward to sharing these values with the inspirational kids at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers.”  says Chris Lieto, Founder of MORE Than Sport. “We are excited to be able to provide the athletes racing with a chance to do more and transform their race experience.  An IRONMAN race medal is a very special item, and sharing this symbol of achievement in celebration of the bravery that these kids demonstrate every day is a really humbling opportunity.”

As a lead up to this event, MORE Than Sport has teamed up with Moxie Multisport to host a happy hour supporting both Competing for Hope and the L3 Foundation.  The event will take place May 13th from 4:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Crush Bar.  Entry to the event will be the purchase of a limited edition MORE Than Sport/ Moxie Multisport/ Blue Nectar co-branded t-shirt.  The sale of each shirt will provide direct support for the children and families affected by childhood cancer.   

Medal collection will be hosted by Cycle Chauffeur, and take place on Sunday May 15th from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. in the parking lot north of the Woodlands Waterway Hotel (9590 Six Pines Dr.) All athletes are invited to drop by at any time for more information or to donate their medal.

For more information, or to register to join and do MORE, please visit http://bit.ly/MTS_IMTX

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About MORE Than Sport

MORE Than Sport was developed in 2007 by Professional Triathlete Chris Lieto. Since then, it has grown into a global movement of athletes who believe in competing for MORE than just a win.  The MORE Than Sport mission is to transform lives around the world through amazing products, service trips, and fundraising opportunities to provide clean water, food, medical care, education, and housing for those in need. Through direct donations, corporate partners, event support and the MTS marketplace, MORE Than Sport has supplied over 39,000 meals to those facing hunger, provided over 292,000 nights of shelter, supported 500 students in receiving educational resources and ensured over 30,000 individuals will receive clean water for life.

® MORE Than Sport and the MORE Than Sport logo are trademarks registered US Patent and Trademark Office.

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