Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A different Ironman...

Local Kona mom (Sunny Haspe) and daughter

Isn't it funny how once we do an Ironman we compare or can relate things in everyday life to the event?

My favorite one is relating it to having a child...

I always would say the LONG 10 month pregnancy is like the long training. You eat everything in sight, you get a bit grumpy, you are always tired, clothes fit weird, the list goes on. Then it is race day or delivery. What a LONG day. It hurts so bad. Really bad. But then you cross the finish line you get your award (or baby) and everything is GREAT. You are changed, for the better in a lot of ways, and life is different.

I love comparing it to marriage too, that is always fun! When Jim and I are having some issues I always tell him I am "bonking". Marriage is long, we go through highs and lows like on race day... and the ones that finish are better for it... right!?

You get the idea. We can compare it.

But what about living with cancer? I just can't do it. I can not possibly imagine what it might be like. There is nothing like having to fight for something more than a finish line... but for your life.

Kona is a small town, we all know and support each other. We are family. One of our amazing families has a REAL Ironman... Sunny Haspe (wife of Brown Bear) I know almost EVERYONE who has ever been to Kona knows, has met, or heard of Brown Bear! Him and is family make Kona special. Sunny is fighting for her life and has been for a few years now. Her fight continues... the cancer is in the brain and spinal fluid. It's pretty darn ugly (I asked first if I could post her photos) ...

The Haspe family could use your prayers, love, and encouragement. They are Ironman volunteers, cheer leaders for everyone that races in Ironman October, and this time it is our turn to cheer on a real-life Ironman. If you have any amazing prayers or words to lift up Sunny in this real life bonk she has going one please say them!

You can even send your cheers to:

Let's go Sunny, we are cheering for you and believe in you!


Blogger Patrick said...

Nice touch Bree...

I've been praying for Brown Bear, Sunny and family for awhile. They truly are an amazing family. My thoughts and prayers continue for this wonderful family.

Absolutely an Ironwoman with an Ironwill.

Stay strong..


June 25, 2008 at 5:21 PM

Blogger Emmalee said...

wow, I can't even imagine...What a courageous woman. Definitely in my thoughts and prayers. Those are the people I admire the most.

June 25, 2008 at 5:25 PM

Anonymous Jennifer Naughty Nottage said...

This family, this woman, this fight; our hometown what taught me so many things, but the main ones are courage, love, community, and heart and healing......Being a part of this family and this community has taught me to be brave and to never complain......there is drama and then there are real problems. Ironman, for those of us who have completed one; can have can teach us who we are. Indeed Ironman is a metaphor for life if we let ourselves look at it this way. Sunny, Brown Bear, and family are the real deal. In the face of immense fear they ONLY show grace under pressure. True Courage. Can I? Can you? Can We? Wee Can!!

June 25, 2008 at 5:43 PM

Blogger ShirleyPerly said...

Oh my, I'm not sure I've met Brown Bear in person but I probably have seen him around. Unfortunately, I know how very difficult it is to have a family member suffering from cancer. But the battle ain't over until it's over and Sunny looks like a fighter to me. Look at that great smile and strong spirit. GO SUNNY!!!

June 25, 2008 at 8:01 PM

Blogger Bruce Stewart (施樸樂) (ブルース・スチュワート) said...

Having been away from Kona for almost a year, I did not quite realize where things were at with Sunny. I knew previously that things were a bit up and down for her. Brown Bear is one of the nicest people I have ever met, and he represents the true Aloha spirit in Hawai'i as well as being an outstanding athlete and my rival in several past qualifying races. Whatever happens in a situation like this, and there is not a lot we can do but pray, is that Sunny will always know that she has a really loving family and many friends in the community supporting and encouraging her. Please give my regards to BB. I hope to see him in the not-too-distant future.

June 25, 2008 at 8:38 PM

Blogger Train-This said...

In the space of fear we find courage and grace and that's where our uleimtate strength is built. Just by looking at her pictures I can SEE that strength.


:-) mary

June 25, 2008 at 10:22 PM

Blogger Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

I couldn't have said it better than Mary... she is beautiful and courageous and strong - ironwill definiteley! Good vibes, thoughts and prayers are all being sent from our family...

June 26, 2008 at 12:31 AM

Blogger Marni said...

you've got prayers coming here from Jacksonville, Florida :)

June 26, 2008 at 1:08 AM

Blogger Bob Mitera said...

When I did Ironman in Kona, I became friends with several local Hawaiian folks. I've only been to Kona twice - both times it felt like home and those friends are like my extended ohana. It might sound corny to some but I don't think so as I know the caring nature of the Hawaiian people.

Prayers from Chicago.

1) Is Brown Bear the guy who works security at the finish line?
2) When my grandmother was battling cancer we used CarboPro to help her feel better. Radiation/Chemo is nasty and really made her feel crummy. The CarboPro made a noticeable difference.

June 26, 2008 at 2:25 AM

Blogger Cricket said...

Our prayers our with this dear family here in Sarasota, FL.

We pray for continued family and "Kona family" support- we pray for all the doctors involved with Sunny to have wisdom and be an open channel of God's healing grace. We pray for all fear and negative thoughts to be removed from Sunny's mind, We pray her mind be directed towards loved ones and positive healing thoughts. We pray for God's comfort upon her- we pray she see's herself well again AND CANCER FREE-

Thanks for the post Bree-

June 26, 2008 at 4:14 AM

Blogger Flatman said...

I will be praying...thanks for sharing this.

June 26, 2008 at 5:06 AM

Blogger Brooke Myers said...

Their are a prime example of what a family is.....
I will continue to pray for them - thanks for the shring this in your own words.

June 26, 2008 at 6:01 AM

Blogger Ian said...

Bree, it is truly an ugly disease but you wouldn't know it from the smile on Sunny's face!
As much as I can't imagine what it must be like to live with cancer there are times when I wish it was me rather than my father. I feel like it would be easier to deal with the suffering myself than watching a loved one go through it.
I'm returning the cheers Sunny and her family must have shouted my way in Kona!!

June 26, 2008 at 6:37 AM

Blogger rr said...

Ah, what a reminder that triathlon is so small in the face of so much else. My thoughts and prayers are with Sunny - I hope it's a full recovery, and fast.

If they're over here and need anything, please pass along my info, OK?

June 26, 2008 at 6:53 AM

Blogger Wes said...

In the immortal words of Lance Armstrong, our Champion in the fight against Cancer...

Brown Bear, WIN!!!

June 26, 2008 at 8:28 AM

Blogger Kellye Mills said...

I really believe in the power of prayer and love... so hang in there Sunny! The entire world is behind you!

June 26, 2008 at 3:56 PM

Blogger TATI said...

thanks for this post makes all of us realize how golden our health is and teaches to appreciate life in the fullest sense.
my deepest prayers and good wishes to sunny!!

June 27, 2008 at 2:29 AM

Blogger Sarah said...


This post is so great. My thoughts are with them. It's not an easy struggle and support is everything. I used to work for the National Brain Tumor Foundation - and please let Sunny and her family know that NBTF is a great place to go for support and information. NBTF has a great newsletter, message boards, survivor stories and a patient support network.

I will be sending my best thoughts her way for strength and healing energy!!

Thank you so much for sharing with us. :)


June 27, 2008 at 1:26 PM

Blogger Maggie Duffy (OKeefe) said...

Bree, My husband and I met you in May at Ironnan St. Croix 70.3. We are both coached by Dede Griesbauer and her blog led me to your's and this inspirational story about Sunny, Brown Bear and their family. We have been dealing with something similar. Our 14 yr old son has been battling PNET brain cancer for the past 18 months. He's had 2 brain surgeries, 8 weeks of cranial/spinal radiation, 6 months of chemotherapy and finally a high dose chemotherapy stem cell transplant. A positive outcome is very slim, but we have hope and gain strength from family, friends, and anonymous folks that send us prayers, presents and hope. Ironically I am a cancer researcher for the pharmaceutical industry. We will definately add Sunny, Brown Bear and their family and friends to our prayers and send them good carma accross the country. I will also reach out to them directly via the contact information your provided. Thanks again for this touching story and Congratulations on your recent wins. Best Wishes, Maggie Duffy

July 14, 2008 at 3:56 AM


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