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My Livestrong Story -Daniel Curtin

September 3, 2009

DanielCurtin_Livestrong

My story really begins 26 or so years ago when I got my first road bike at age 10.  I have no idea what the draw was—my folks didn’t ride at all, and my friends rode BMX, but I wanted a road bike for some reason.  I got one and my dad started taking me to races and rides all over Texas.  I spent my high school years and college breaks working at local bike shops in Dallas where I grew up, and then slowly moved away from the bike to the point I didn’t ever ride during law school.  Dad and I talked Tour each July, but that was about it for me.

By 2003, I was 30, a practicing lawyer, and generally un-fit and living a really unhealthy and destructive lifestyle—smoking two packs a day and eating and drinking anything and everything I came across.  Then dad got sick.

That year dad was diagnosed with stage IV primary glioma—a very serious localized brain tumor.  The short story about dad is that he underwent every reasonable treatment option available and saw little to no improvement, and then decided to live on his terms.  He passed 13 months after his original diagnosis.

For me dad’s illness was a wakeup call.   I re-discovered cycling, got healthy, and dropped 50 or so pounds.  I knew Lance Armstrong’s story and had met him at NikeTown in New York City in 1999 after his first Tour win.  2003 was also when I learned of his cancer foundation.  I got involved immediately and raised a bunch of money that first year, and the next.  I came to the Ride for the Roses each year and I rode with Lance, met Bob Roll and George Hincapie, and heard a lot of amazing stories of survivorship.  I was moved.  I was inspired.  And I had changed.

In 2005 my wife and I threw caution to the wind and left New York City and moved to Austin, where we had no jobs, no connections—nothing but a love for the town that we had been visiting each October.  We were lucky, in that everything worked out even better than we hoped.  I left the practice of law after getting my Texas law license, never having practiced here and started working at Bicycle Sport Shop in an effort to follow a long-lost but re-discovered passion.

Since 2005 the Livestrong Challenge has been more about my dad and I and less about raising money and meeting Lance.   I like to spend the day riding with friends and just enjoying the day, talking about my dad (and with him a bit) and about all the miles I’ve ridden that year and how many more I’m planning.  That day is my day to celebrate and continue my dad’s survivorship.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2009 10:06 am

    really interesting story! I have read Lance Armstrong’s autobiography, very inspiring!

  2. Buffdaddy permalink
    September 4, 2009 4:55 pm

    Daniel,that is a very touching and inspiring story ! Congrats !

  3. Jeff permalink
    September 4, 2009 5:36 pm

    Daniel,

    I recall the ride in 2006 when we road the LiveStorng Challenge on East Side. Great Century we had from what I recall. Its always nice to see you at the local rides, i need to come by the shop more to visit! Lets try and ride together sometime. Take care,

    Jeff Sheldon

    LAF Volunteer/ Supporter since 2000.

    Thanks for sharing the story about your Dad!

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