Some people need an extra bit of motivation, inspiration or what have you in order to help their fellow man.
And then there are others, like Cameron Smith, where it all seems to come naturally.
Sure, you can find him in high-profile events like the 10th annual Bucks County Duathlon where he will be assisting a physically challenged athlete named Eyvette Hanna as part of the “Ainsley’s Angels’’ project.
But there are also far less public times when Smith likes to take his motorcycle out for a spin and prepares himself in case he comes across someone in distress.
While he says the spirit for such endeavors stems from his work with his local church, we get the feeling the whole thing starts with his positive outlook toward life.
The Ambler/Upper Dublin native, who turns 57 on Thursday, seems to enjoy the opportunity to improve the plight of those less fortunate.
As part of “Team Eyvette,’’ he will be pushing the 16-year-old through the pair of two-mile runs at the BCD and pulling her in a specially designed carriage/trailer on his bike for the 10-mile cycle leg.
He offers a simple explanation for why this sort of gesture is rewarding.
“To see the smile on the kids’ faces,’’ he says, “that’s really all I need. It’s really neat to see how excited they get at doing something like that.’’
Smith says he has a background of helping others.
With his church, he’s made annual trips to Kentucky where he’s done some work rebuilding homes. That group has also gone to Haiti, a country still recovering from a devastating earthquake nearly a decade ago.
Then there’s his almost daily rides on the motorcycle.
“Often times I stop on the side of the road if I see someone broken down,’’ he says. “I’ll change a tire. They often want to give me something and I say that’s not what it’s about.
“It’s me doing what I want to do for helping others. It’s just what I do.’’
On any given morning when he’s walking to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia where he’s in research administration, he might come across a homeless person on the street who’s a bit down on his luck.
“Typically in my backpack I carry extra socks, snacks, different things and I offer something to each of them,’’ he says. “And we might start a conversation. . .(that helps) because sometimes they might feel like they don’t even exist.
“It’s important to me that they’re at least recognized as humans, even if I can’t do anything for them in the long run – there’s only so much that any individual can do but everybody can do something.’’
Ainsley’s Angels of America was founded back in 2011 and is named after Ainsley Rossiter, a 12-year-old girl who died in 2016 of a rare pervasive developmental disorder called infantile neuroaxonal dystrophy.
During her brief life, Ainsley (with the help of her father and sister) completed some 100 races in her pink wheelchair, including the Marine Corps Marathon in 2015.
Footraces are one thing but duathlons and triathlons are quite another. There are highways with traffic and, in tri-sport, all different types of challenges in the water.
Cameron, who was a cross-country runner both at Upper Dublin High School and Bloomsburg University, went through a trial run a few years back and decided he was fit enough to take on this responsibility for Ainsley’s Angels.
Smith lives in Lafayette Hill with his wife, Sandi. The couple raised twin daughters, Kristen and Rebecca, who are now 25. Kristen works in a lab at Reading Hospital and Rebecca is a receptionist for a property management company.
He took decades off from running after college but returned not too long ago and in a short period of time worked his way up to Ironman level (2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike, 26.2-mile run).
There were three goals he had in mind for his first Ironman.
“Finish will a smile on my face, have my wife at the finish line and break 11 hours,’’ he says. “I managed to do all three of those.’’
His goal at BCD is a modest one: Just finish in under two hours. But it’s not about time, it’s about the wonderful experience of achieving a goal.
Since he’s already an accomplished triathlete, it’s just a matter of handling the logistics of working with another person.
“I wanted to include some of my activities to help others,’’ he says. “I don’t do the things I do to receive recognition but it’s nice when it happens.
“I can only hope it lights a fire under one of your readers that leads to them taking the step to help someone else.’’
Sunday, Sept. 1
10th annual Bucks County Duathlon, 7 a.m., Washington Crossing Historic Park, Washington Crossing.
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