-by Bristol Bugle Newspaper Correspondent Jim Nickel
Gene Crusie of Bristol was the top fundraiser on the NF Endurance team of the Children’s Tumor Foundation (CTF) in the 2014 IRONMAN Hawaii 70.3, raising $3,500 for the cause of ending NF through research.
NF stands for neurofibromatosis, a rare disease in which benign tumors grow on the nerves of the patient, causing many debilitating physical problems. Since it often affects small children, CTF was founded to search for prevention or a cure through medical research.
Gene Crusie has sponsored a five-year-old girl named Ava as his “NF Hero.” She was diagnosed with NF at the age of six months and has undergone numerous MRIs to monitor the growth of several tumors, including a serious one on her upper spinal cord.
Gene says he wanted to encourage and inspire Ava and her family, “but what I found was that I was the one being inspired and blessed.”
Gene, age 44, is the owner of MapleNet Wireless in Elkhart. He lives south of Bristol with his wife, Michelle, and their three children, Josh, Nich, and Noah. He has participated in many triathlon competitions, which include swimming, biking, and running.
A full Ironman triathlon consists of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bicycle ride, and a 26.2 mile run. An Ironman 70.3 is exactly half of the above, namely, a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride, and a 13.1 mile run.
Gene does his swimming workouts at Northridge High School, the Elkhart YMCA, and Simonton Lake. Biking at times takes him on a 100-mile loop through Bremen, South Bend, and Niles. Running is done around his home or at the YMCA. One or more of these workouts are done six days a week.
Several competitions are scheduled for 2015, including a Toughman Indiana 70.3 in Richmond, Indiana in May and an Ironman 70.3 at Prairie Creek Reservoir near Muncie in July. Funds will be raised for CTF at several of these future events.
Gene is also involved with Ribbon of Hope, a ministry to cancer patients in Elkhart County. This group will sponsor, as a fundraiser, a triathlon on June 13 at Ideal Beach on Heaton Lake. Persons interested in participating can learn more at the following website: idealbeachtri.com. Shorter runs and a kids’ triathlon are included in the schedule.