David Tarnow: Going the Distance
Pedaling 500 miles in a week would be a major achievement for any adult, but for David Tarnow, diagnosed with CF at age 3, it’s an even greater accomplishment.
David Tarnow, who has CF, has raised
more than $80,000 for the CF Foundation through his Cycle for a Cure efforts.
Over the past five years, David has channeled his love of cycling into a major fund-raising event called Dave’s Cycle for a Cure, raising nearly $80,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
David, now 20 and a sophomore at Louisiana State University, attributes his “can do” attitude and sunny outlook to his parents, who inspired him to tackle challenges with enthusiasm.
“As far as I was concerned, I was a perfectly normal child,” says David. “To this day, I don’t wake up every morning and mourn over my condition. I want to face every day with joy and purpose.”
David also credits Jennifer Board, who had CF, for his optimistic approach to life. A friend of the Tarnow family, Jennifer possessed an incredible passion for life, he says. “She never let any of the realities of the disease affect her spirits.
When Jennifer lost her battle with CF at age 22, David was in the eighth grade. “I found myself thinking I’d been very fortunate to be healthy thus far,” he says. “I decided to find a way to start raising money for the CF Foundation in order to help bring us that much closer to finding a cure.”
With input and encouragement from his Aunt Karen, also an avid cyclist, Dave’s Cycle for a Cure was born. Each year since 2003, David, along with family and friends, has cycled between 200 and 500 miles in four or five days on behalf of the CF Foundation . His rides have taken him along the Washington and Oregon coasts and along the Natchez Trace from Nashville to Baton Rouge. This year’s ride in June took place in Northern California.
Sporting custom bike jerseys emblazoned with the letters "CF" on the sleeves and talking to curious folks along the way, the cycling group—including David’s mom and dad—also raises awareness of the disease. David conducts an extensive letter-writing campaign to raise funds to support the Foundation's mission. David hopes to raise about $20,000 from the 2008 ride.
When asked who his heroes are, David talks about his one and only hospital stay two years ago, “just a little tune-up,” he calls it. Looking around him, David says, he saw little kids 3, 4 and 5 years old with 20 percent lung function and awaiting transplants, but who still projected a sense of happiness and excitement.
“Those are my heroes,” David says. “And everyone out there with CF living their lives with fervor and passion.” He adds, “The slogan on my Web site is ‘saving lives, one mile at a time.’ With every mile we bike, we’re more committed to finding a cure for CF.”
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