Reason to Smile: Man w/Terminal Cancer Runs IronMan for Daughter
Jay Hewitt saw his first Iron Man triathlon on TV in 1989 and could not believe what he was seeing. He described the men on the screen as super human.
Years passed and he never believed he would be one of those men, especially after his diagnosis.
In 2015 Hewitt was blessed with a daughter he named Hero.
In 2018 he got the news that would change him. When Hero was around three-years-old, Hewitt was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer.
It was at that moment he made it his mission to become super human.
The day he got his first chemo treatment, he began training for the Iron Man.
Due to the pandemic, Ironman canceled their 2020 events. Hewitt got in touch with the organizers and they suggested that he be part of the IRONMAN VR Kona virtual race.
He was able to design his own course and even set it up that his finish line would be his own garage.
He used the fact that he was just running home as motivation.
- Hewitt started in Newport Beach's Back Bay with a 2-mile swim.
- He then biked 112 miles
- He then ran the final 26.2 miles home
During the race, chemo wreaked havoc on his digestive system. He couldn't digest nutrition or hydration, but pushed through the nausea. The stomach pain got so severe he threw up.
When he came around the corner to the finish line after 13 hours and 40 minutes, there were hundreds of people there cheering him on.
Ironman even constructed an authentic finish line for him at his house.
"My daughter and my wife were holding that tape, so I just zeroed in on them thinking 'I'm coming home.' I didn't have much energy, but I gave my wife a kiss, handed my wife and daughter flowers and got down on my knees to say to Hero, 'If I can do it, you can do it. Dream big and never give up hope.' I got to tell her that it was really hard for me but I had thought about coming home to her, and that she had given me the strength to finish."