Team Blazeman

Believe...Pick a stronger word than Hope...Cure.

O C Blazeman Team # 179


O C Blazeman Team # 179

Blazeman Warriors from Orange County California. Fighting the War On ALS..."so others may live"...Freedom...Freedom from ALS.

Location: Huntington Beach Pier California
Members: 20
Latest Activity: Oct 10, 2013

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Comment by blazedad on October 10, 2013 at 12:43pm
Comment by April Hartsook on May 3, 2013 at 6:27pm




"April Hartsook: ALS Warrior"


These days, it's not unusual for an athlete to dedicate a special game to someone who has passed away. For years, triathletes April Hartsook and her pal Karen Kelly have competed in Ironman competitions around the world, raising awareness and funding for research to find a cure in the WAR ON ALS aka Lou Gehrig’s Disease. In honor of their friends Jon Blais & Rosemary Craig, and in memory of Karen's Mother, all who died of ALS. But this year, it's different, April will be racing not only without Karen, now she's racing FOR Karen. Through some sick twist of fate, Karen was herself diagnosed with ALS in 2012, and is in the fight of life.


Here in America, nearly 6,000 people are diagnosed with ALS each year, and over 30,000 have the disease at any given time. Karen Kelly's Mom was one of those victims, and now, so is Karen.


"Karen is a true Ironman. For years she has tirelessly given to the ALS BLazeman Foundation and the ALS community in hopes of raising awareness. She's been strong for others, and now we want to be strong for her", said Hartsook, who is a professional fitness trainer in North Carolina when she's not traveling the globe to compete in Ironman competitions.


An Ironman competition requires participants to compete in three events within a 17 hour time limit They consist of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. Over 100,000 athletes enter some 37 Ironman races every year, hoping to snag one of the 2,000 slots in the annual Ironman World Championships, which are held in Kona, Hawaii. Anyone who finishes first in his age group in any race during the season, automatically qualifies for a slot in the Kona finals, held in October.


April has been training everyday of her life for many years and is fully prepared for a qualifying race to gain entry, however she has entered the 2013 IRONMAN KONA INSPIRED CONTEST by submitting a video describing her plight to get to Kona to fight for Karen, not because she wants something for FREE~ but because the Ironman mantra “Anything is Possible” is what we need in finding a CURE for ALS. April will be asking people to log onto the website, watch her video entitled "KONA FOR KAREN AND ALS", and with the simple click of the mouse, cast a VOTE to help send them to KONA. Entries with the most votes will be granted a complimentary an entry in the Race. "This isn't about me, this is about Karen and the WAR ON ALS, I need to get to KONA and having the world help me gives them a chance to be a part of something "So others may live", said Hartsook.


For April & Karen, the clock is ticking, this disease is fast and furious and Karen is fighting for her life.


The World Championship stage will serve as the perfect global platform to tell the world this disease NEEDS a cure.

"I've lost too many friends to ALS, and I'm tired of feeling helpless against this horrible disease", said Hartsook. "There is not a doubt in my mind I am capable of finishing the Ironman in KONA, and I want to cross that finish line and hug my friend and tell her she matters, and tell the world ALS NEEDS A CURE".


April has already helped to raise thousands of dollars from individuals and companies who have supported her mission, and that money goes directly to the Blazeman Foundation for ALS ( and is dispersed with some of the funding going to Grants here in our own community at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, who are working to find a cure for ALS.

"I'll be asking for VOTES, and I'll be asking people to donate what they can, if they can. . And if I can compete on the World Stage of IRONMAN and captivate an audience large enough, we can spread the word, bring the awareness needed, and raise funds to help find a cure for this horrible disease. "I want millions of people to know why I'm racing", said Hartsook. "SO OTHERS MAY LIVE".



Comment by April Hartsook on April 22, 2013 at 8:17pm

In 2007, I became an Ironman to raise awareness and research dollars for the Blazeman Foundation for ALS. I did it in memory of my mother who died of ALS in 1990, and I had the privilege to wear #179 in Kona to honor Jon Blais. Less than 5 years later, I was diagnosed with ALS. I am honored that April Hartsook is continuing the fight for those of us now fighting for our lives. Please watch April's video, vote to enable her to take our cause back to its deep Kona roots and donate to her efforts on behalf of the Blazeman Foundation for ALS. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

I NEED YOUR HELP MY ALS BLAZEMAN WARRIOR BROTHERS AND SISTERS~ In the last 6 years I have spent my racing career guided by my calling as the ALS BLAZEMAN WARRIOR PRINCESS, having lost both Jon Blais and my Coach, Mentor and Friend Rosemary Craig in 2007 to the disease of ALS...NOW As if designed by a higher calling and a bigger plan...I find myself being called yet again to fight for my friend Karen, whom upon a chance meeting in ALS set the ball in motion for me to become an ALS BLAZEMAN WARRIOR to begin with.....please WATCH....VOTE...SHARE..... ( you can vote from every device you have , iPhone, iPad, droid, desktop home, desktop work ) :) thank you for sharing this journey with me!!!
Comment by blazedad on December 14, 2011 at 3:46am

OC Blazeman Team 179
WHAT A WEEKEND!  OC BLAZEMAN TEAM 179 tied for first place in the team division at the Huntington Beach Pier swim.  We are glad Bob had the chance to be there and regret that all of the Ryan family could not be in two places at once representing The Blazeman Foundation. John Ryan, Dana Ryan, Kyle Ryan, Christopher Krajacic, Daniel Kwong, Rebecca Kwong, and Joe Cusimano represented our team in Warrior Tri suits.  If you have not already seen the photos, they are on tri cal's website for Escape From Alcatraz.  On Saturday morning, John, Dana, Kyle and Chritopher made our way to the sand ladder where I read the Battle Cry and John's words on the back of his Kona Bib number.  It was a struggle to get the words out without breaking out in tears, but I managed to; just as the same emotion is
welling up in my heart at this moment.  We spread his ashes on the first step and made our way to the top of the ladder and did the same.  I left a Blazeman Warrior sticker on the base of the top step and also on a sign post for all the athletes to see as they eclipsed the sand ladder.  On Sunday morning, Dana and I spread the remaining ashes off the back of the boat at Alcatraz.  I drew inspiration from Jon all during the race, as did the entire team.  Christopher had a bike crash at mile three on a decent and thankfully, escaped without serious injury.  He was able to finish the bike and after a lengthy transition, decided to continue and complete the run.  He had a few raspberries on his back and rear; his uniform was unscathed.  He said the Blazeman Shield protected him.  I know it was more than that, and am thankful he is all in one piece.

We met other Blazeman Warriors and were able garner interest in the FIGHT against ALS. 

In Strength and Honor,
John, Dana, Kyle, Christopher, Daniel, Rebecca, Joe

Comment by John M. Daley on September 2, 2011 at 10:17pm

had to join... even though i live on the east coast


Comment by bob heins on November 4, 2009 at 8:06pm
Hi OC Blazaeman #179. I'll be doing I.M Arz 22 Nov. Hope to see you there. Bob Heins
Comment by Jerry Nista on November 4, 2009 at 3:32pm
Hi OC Blazeman #179. I appreciate the invite into your So Cal Blazeman group. I look forward to potentially racing alongside you guys somewhere over the next season.
Comment by blazedad on November 4, 2009 at 8:55am
Hello everyone...O C Blazeman Team #179 was organized by John Ryan and supported by his family and friends...John, Dana, Keith and Kyle..."Tri Ryans" are from Orange County, Ca.,...Huntington Beach...they are a dedicated Triathlon family...they are an inspirational family envolved in many efforts..."paying it forward"...they bring their love of the sport to many causes...and so do those that work with them.
Thank you all.

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