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Men’s rowing club to host ergathon for cancer research

| Friday, February 6, 2015

The men’s rowing club will host Saturday its first annual Joseph D. Boyle Memorial Ergathon to raise funds for pancreatic cancer research.

The ergathon, to be held in the Joyce Center Rowing Gym from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., will honor the memory of the father of junior rower Joe Boyle, who died of pancreatic cancer last October.

“My way of dealing with grief has been to give back, do something positive and be optimistic,” Boyle said, “It’s what my dad would have wanted, and I decided that I wanted to do something constructive in helping other people that have pancreatic cancer. It would be a good way to give back in his memory instead of just wallowing in grief.”

Junior rower Bryce DeVenecia said the team invites the entire Notre Dame community to participate.

“We’ve contacted all the alumni, and now we’re trying to reach out to the students mainly and see whoever wants to come and put in a couple meters for the cause and spread awareness about pancreatic cancer,” he said.

According to the American Cancer Society, the five-year survival rate for stage I pancreatic cancer is 14 percent and 3 percent for stage III.

“Pancreatic cancer is very under-researched, very underfunded, so this event is to spread awareness and raise funds,” DeVenecia said. “We’re giving the funds to the Harper Institute for Cancer Research, and we’re hoping to raise a lot of money to start a lot of research here on campus and also spread awareness on campus about this terrifying disease.”

Boyle said an ergathon is “similar to a walk-a-thon or run-a-thon or jog-a-thon” but performed on an indoor rowing machine known colloquially as an ergometer, or erg.

“The whole men’s team is going to row as many meters as possible in four hours,” Boyle said, “We’re getting donations pledged to us per 500 meters. Some of us are planning to row 42,000 meters, so that’s 84 500s, so if you donated a dollar per 500, that’d be an $84 donation.”

A rowing marathon is 42,000 meters, DeVenecia said.

Although this year’s ergathon is the first, the team hopes to expand the event in the future.

“We’re going to make it into an annual event, so sometime in the early spring or late winter every year,” Boyle said. “Hopefully, every year we’ll raise more money and keep it going in honor of my dad, keep the event alive and see how we can grow it. … We’re trying to get through the first one, but next year we’ll definitely network it way ahead of time.”

“Anyone that wants to come out and support us is welcome to,” he also said. “Thanks for the support and check us out on Facebook. Like it, spread it around. Donate a dollar, five dollars, whatever you want — every penny counts.”

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About Andrea Vale

Andrea Vale is a freshman at Notre Dame who has previously written for both the Sun Chronicle and the Huffington Post. She plans to major in English with a Creative Writing concentration and a minor in Journalism.

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