Friends mean so much to all of us but there are no words to describe what they represent to Missy Flynn.
Without them, the former world-class triathlete from Newtown might not have the lifestyle she leads right now.
For over a decade — nearly 13 years to be more exact – Flynn has received help from folks who know her or know of her.
After suffering a life-threatening brain aneurysm on Dec. 23, 2005, she has been overcoming the odds which say she shouldn’t be with us any longer.
With 24/7 care from her life partner, Brian Wong, and several others close to her, she continues on life’s journey, albeit with limitations to her physical faculties.
And by extension, events like the Bucks County Duathlon to help raise money for uninsured medical expenses, etc. have given the local athletic community a chance to show its support.
More than $100,000 has been raised for this cause and the quest goes on Sept. 2 with the 2018 BCD at Washington Crossing Historic Park (7 a.m.).
This year, an 8K Challenge (sponsored by Bucks County Roadrunners) has been added to allow the running “set’’ to get involved.
Wong, for one, appreciates the love Bucks County has shown for one of its favorite daughters.
“It seems to me the race is really driven by devotion,’’ Wong says. “Both by all of our friends who put the race on and all of our friends who participate.
“It’s something that’s hard to measure but easy to appreciate.’’
Missy and Brian make an appearance at the race each year and help out with the awards ceremony.
It’s a highly anticipated happening on race day. When she says a booming “Hello!’’ into the microphone, cheers abound.
There are people in the crowd who have been participating in the race since it began in its current format nine years ago.
“It’s very rare that people will stick with you for such a long period of time without having daily contact with you,’’ Wong notes.
“I recently read that a study of patients who have had strokes found that after something like two years, a large percentage said they had no friends.
“And that’s because of the nature of the injury, you end up withdrawing from the community. You don’t really have a choice. So there’s a very real danger that you disappear.’’
But in this instance, that’s not happening. Generous sponsors and donors give freely. Some friends of the Flynn-Wong family come to the house to cook meals on a weekly basis.
“We haven’t (disappeared),’’ Wong says. “I put that down to Missy’s personality and life before she had the injury.
“She had that network of people who were true friends. This is year 13, which is an incredibly long time. Things like cooking meals. . .that’s an amazing commitment.’’
The Bucks County Duathlon also figures into the equation because of a somewhat similar effort put forth.
“If you said, ‘can you put on an event for the next 13 years,’ who’s going to say yes to that,’’ Wong says. “As it turns out, we’re extremely lucky that a group of people said yes, we will do it.’’
And so, a couple weeks from now, people will gather at the historic park, not only to compete and enjoy themselves, but to contribute to a cause they can see before their eyes.
“She remembers everybody there,’’ Wong says. “So for her, it’s a big day.’’
Race co-director Harry Betz is a driving force behind the event and says it’s a labor of love.
“It’s always gratifying to see her,’’ says Betz, who owns and operates Newtown Bike Shop. “Knowing that you have an impact on somebody’s qualify of life, it’s what it’s all about.
“You’re just glad to be of help for someone who needs it.’’
For more information on the race, visit www.buckscountyduathlon.org.
Ivyland 5K, 8:30 a.m., Ivyland. Contact www.ivyland5k.org
Sunday, Sept. 2
Ninth annual Bucks County Duathlon and 8K Challenge, 7 a.m., Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing. Contact www.buckscountyduathlon.org