This is Jon Dephouse, a 32 year old triathlete, priest, husband, and father of two young boys who was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer known as Pleomorphic Rhabdomyosarcoma in October 2012.
Jon is my neighbor and when his wife, Sarah Lynn, told me of Jon’s diagnosis I felt the need to do something (however small) to help so with the help of some friends at The Cycle Annex in South Pasadena (where both Jon and Sarah Lynn were former instructors and where I take indoor cycling classes), Team Dephouse and the Ride For Jon was born.
The Ride For Jon Event went from concept to launch in 2.5 weeks. I lived, ate and breathed this event and did 95% of the marketing and PR long distance from NY. Wow, how things have changed since I was in the thick of Marketing and Communications over 10 years ago (before social media was even a thought).
The Ride For Jon took place on Nov 23rd and Nov 24th in CA. The event did get some promotional links/tweets from local friends, Glass of Win, @keetots, Mickie’s Zoo, Mamashealth.com, Mr. Pasadena.net, Pasadenaviews.com (among others) and some press via Pasadena Weekly and the South Pasadena Patch.
All in all the event raised nearly $4,000 for the Dephouse family. After a good friend losing her son to a genetic disease in Dec 2011, another friend’s son being diagnosed with Leukemia in June 2012, having my neighbor diagnosed with cancer seemed as though the world was telling me it was time to do something to help.
I’m very proud that this idea that popped into my head became a reality. I have the tendency to have many ideas but few of them actually come to fruition. This idea was not the one I thought would see the light of day but I’m so proud that it did.
The community came out in full force for this event. Not every ride or rider was photographed (including me).
I’ll admit that I did the all 3 of the rides on 11/24/12 (I got back from NY on 11/23) and I couldn’t help but cry during that 11am ride. It was a magical day to be a part of so much love and community but it was also bit heartbreaking (and fuel firing) for me to find out that another friend’s mother was diagnosed with colon cancer during our plane ride from NY to LA.
The Ride For Jon delivered nearly $4,000 for the Dephouse family. SouthPasadenaPatch.com did a follow-up story on the event here.
The experience of planning and being a part of this event has changed me. This event certainly makes me thankful for my health, connected me to a new community and reminded me to appreciate my friends and family (which I neglected a lot during the planning of this event).
This event gave me the opportunity to utilize my helping nature to give but I didn’t realize that the Ride For Jon would also give something to me. My heart and soul were motivated altruistically in developing this event so I have to say I feel a bit ashamed to developmentally profit. I feel the need to express my deepest gratitude to the Dephouse family for allowing me to discover some of the physical, emotional and mental powers deep within myself that I never realized that I had. This experience will shape most definitely help me carve out my future in so many ways.
The Dephouses have a battle that continues and their blog: www.bikingbeforedawn.blogspot.com details the original Team Dephouse battle against cancer. Friends of the Dephouses have set up a donation site here that was set up before the event. I know there is a long road ahead but I hope that through the community sharing strength, love and hope for Jon will appeal to the competitor inside of him and allow him to win in the fight for his life.