ROCHESTER, N.Y. and BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The University at Buffalo, Roswell Park Cancer Institute and Melissa’s Living Legacy Teen Cancer Foundation will sponsor a “Duel in the Pool” competition at 4 p.m. Saturday, April 28, in UB’s Alumni Arena Natatorium to raise funds for Teens Living with Cancer in Rochester and Buffalo.
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong has accepted a challenge issued by Orchard Park native, former UB student, and triathlon coach Mary Eggers to battle it out in a 50-meter kickboard sprint in the pool prior to his scheduled Distinguished Speakers Series lecture at 8 p.m.
Eggers, a fitness coach working with the Teens Living with Cancer (TLC) program, issued her challenge to Armstrong via Twitter upon learning of Lance’s speech at UB. She intended to draw attention to the organization’s mission and its TLC Fit program.
Proceeds from this event will benefit LIVESTRONG and the Teens Living with Cancer program in Rochester and soon-to-be established chapter in Buffalo at Roswell Park – a new venture being made possible due to this collaboration and the “Duel in the Pool” fundraiser. Attendance at the “Duel in the Pool” will be by invitation only and closed to the public and media. Video footage and photographs from the private event will be provided to media upon request at the evening lecture.
The audience for the event will be teen cancer patients from both Roswell Park and Teens Living with Cancer in Rochester, making it the first opportunity for both current and future members of the support group to meet and share their experiences. The videotaped race results and behind-the-scenes footage will be presented during Armstrong’s 8 p.m. public lecture.
“Teens who are facing cancer deserve access to a wide range of unique and age-specific support services,” said Lynda Kwon Beaupin, MD, coordinator of Roswell Park’s Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Program. “Thanks to Mary Eggers and Lance Armstrong, the “Duel in the Pool” will allow Teens Living with Cancer to expand its reach to both Buffalo and Rochester, providing more opportunities for teens to seek these important services and find support from their peers.”
Teens Living with Cancer is the peer-support program of Melissa’s Living Legacy Teen Cancer Foundation. Its mission is to provide resources and support that enhance the quality of life for teens with cancer. Inspired by Melissa Marie Sengbusch who died in June, 2000 at age 19, the foundation has grown from a grassroots organization to an internationally known and respected provider of age-appropriate resources for teens with cancer. Since its beginning, the organization has supported thousands of teens and their families around the globe.
“We share a vision with Lance Armstrong in helping cancer survivors live their best lives,” said Lauren Spiker, Melissa’s mom and executive director of Melissa’s Living Legacy Teen Cancer Foundation. “The spirit of this event has Melissa written all over it.”
Eggers has had a long triathlon career during which she has set several amateur course records, raced in elite categories and qualified for the Hawaii Ironman three times. She is an USAT All American, multi-sport coach, yoga instructor and registered nurse. More information about Mary can be found at www.ironmomma.com.
The fundraising goal set by LIVESTRONG and TLC is $100,000, of which 100 percent will benefit both organizations. To find out more about the “Duel in the Pool” and how to donate, visit www.teenslivingwithcancer.org.
Tickets to the Armstrong lecture -- which will include the “Duel in the Pool” video -- are available through the Alumni Arena Ticket Office, which is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Ticketmaster. For more information, visit www.specialevents.buffalo.edu.
Lauren Spiker, TLC, Executive Director
Kerry Jones, RPCI, Sr. Communications Coordinator
John Della Contrada, UB, Asst. VP for Media Relations