Going the extra mile for cancer research

Going the extra mile for cancer research

Image: Steve Dailey and Brian Remigio For the athletically challenged, participating in a triathlon sounds like a herculean feat. Add the phrase "Olympic Distance" and we're talking a race involving a one-mile swim, a 25-mile bike ride, and a six-mile run ... all in a single sprint. Who could ever be up for all that?

Try two Fairfield University staff members and alumni Steve Dailey, of Stratford, Conn., and Brian Remigio, of Orange, Conn., who spend the bulk of their days sitting behind computers working for the Computing and Network Services department. As part of the American Cancer Society DetermiNation team , Dailey and Remigio are physically gearing up to join 3,000 athletes at the 11th Annual Nautica New York City Triathlon in the early morning of August 7. Together they will swim the Hudson River, bike up the West Side Highway, and run through Central Park.

Dailey blames this "crazy idea" all on Remigio, his co-worker and training buddy. With the shared goal of getting in better physical shape, they entered the Stratton Faxon Road Race in downtown New Haven in September 2010, and ran their first 5K alongside thousands of others, dashing to the sounds of live, upbeat music every few blocks. Exhilarated by the experience, Remigio pushed for them to go for a triathlon.

Before committing fully to the Nautica NYC endurance competition, this pair of Information Technology professionals partook in the Seaside Sprint Triathlon in Fairfield, sponsored by TriFitness , a multi-sport training company. "The Sound was angry that day, with waves crashing all around us," recalls Dailey of their "warm-up" exercise," but we did fairly well, all things considered."

Physically and psychologically, they were now ready to sign up for the Big Apple, Multi-Sport event.

To ensure their spot on August 7, Remigio and Dailey picked a charity organization that would sponsor them in exchange for their fundraising efforts. This was the easiest decision of all, as the American Cancer Society held significance to both: Dailey lost his mom to colon cancer in 2002 after a two-year battle when she was only 56 years old; Remigio's father was a prostate cancer survivor, his aunt was a lung cancer survivor, and another aunt succumbed to melanoma.

"Some charities' fundraising requirements were significantly less than that of the American Cancer Society," says Remigio, "but I wanted to raise money for a cause that had significance to me and my family." To date, they have raised $7,958, with a strong boost from a charity auction Remigio held at the Orange Ale House in May of this year, featuring donations from area businesses.

Remigio, who was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last year, has another strong motive to get and stay in shape. "I have two daughters, ages four and two, and I didn't want this disease to beat me and have them grow up without a father," said Remigio, who earned a B.A. in psychology and a M.S. in the Management of Technology from Fairfield. "I also want them to see me exercise every day with the hope that they'll be inspired to make daily exercise a part of their lives as well."

"For the last eight months we've been training like crazy," says Dailey, who earned a master's degree in Educational Technology from Fairfield in 2000. Their regimen has included swimming three times a week in the university pool as well as at Fairfield's Jennings Beach to get a better feel for swimming in open water. In addition, they run laps around the 200-acre campus and through hilly sections of Stratford. They also bike the hills of Bethany, and along the Milford and West Haven coastline. Their training includes a strict diet and researching the rigors of triathlon competitions.

Sound exhausting? Remigio's advice for others is simple.

"Take the first step to getting healthy: a walk, a run, a 5K, a triathlon - whatever it may be," he said. "You reach a point and something just clicks; a workout becomes something you want and look forward to, not a task you can't wait to get over.'

Dailey agrees, adding, "I believe it's important for people to step outside of their comfort zone and expand their boundaries by doing what they normally wouldn't."

Sitting behind a computer much of the day can either result in a sedentary lifestyle or an abundance of restless energy. Clearly, Remigio and Dailey have channeled their energy to not only improve their physical health, but to help protect the health of others. "Everyone has been touched by cancer in some ways," Remigio points out. "By supporting the American Cancer Society, you're making a difference for so many."

Adds Dailey, "Each time I train or run a race, I do it with my mother on my mind. She helps drive me harder and push me to always go 100%. I think if we all could work just a little harder at helping each other out, the world could be a better place."

Image: Fairfield University employees Steve Dailey, of Stratford, Conn., right, and Brian Remigio, of Orange, Conn., are competing in the Nautica New York City Triathlon in memory of family who died of cancer.

-Written by Lisa Calderone

Posted On: 07-27-2011 11:07 AM

Volume: 44 Number: 11