Tony Griffin – Reaching Toward a Dream
From the diary of Tony Griffin
"We left Stanley Park to bag pipes, Mounties and lots of liquid sunshine. It was a humbling experience to see the people there, hear the shouts of encouragement from drivers as they spotted the RV decked out with our messages on the sides and back.
One woman pulled up on the highway beside me to tell me she was a survivor and to pedal faster and tell as many people as possible the good news.”
On May 1, 2007, Irish hurling champion Tony Griffin embarked on a remarkable journey.
Born and raised in Ireland, Griffin is a leading goal scorer in that country’s national sport, which he describes as a hybrid of hockey, rugby and lacrosse. Adds Tony,
“I’m in a sport that for every young Irish boy is a dream come true.”
But in December 2005, after losing his father to lung cancer, Tony’s dreams were elevated to a new level. To honour his father’s memory, Tony founded the Tony Griffin Foundation with the mission to Celebrate Life. For his first initiative, Tony committed to cycle across two continents to raise $1.5-million (CAD) for cancer research. Named Tony Griffin’s 7000 km Ride for the Cure, his journey would span the Pacific Ocean in Canada to the Atlantic Ocean in Ireland.
A scholarship student at Dalhousie University, Tony and his team chose to announce the 7000 km Ride for the Cure in the city of Halifax. Tony’s good friend in Halifax, Todd McDonald – son of ovarian cancer survivor and Ovarian Cancer Canada Board member, Pat McDonald – decided to ride the Irish leg of Tony’s journey with him to honour his mother. When Tony learned about the need for awareness of ovarian cancer, he chose to donate all funds raised in Canada to Ovarian Cancer Canada.
Another inspiration behind Tony’s dream was none other than seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who has provided ongoing advice and encouragement to Tony. Proceeds from the fundraiser also benefit Lance Armstrong’s Livestrong Foundation as well as the Irish Cancer Society.
Tony’s life-changing journey ended with a black tie celebration in Golway, Ireland.
OCC owes tremendous thanks to Krista Keough, Janice Landry, Travis McDonough, Bruce Mansour, Todd and Pat McDonald, the Irish-Canadian community and the numerous volunteers who organized fundraisers in cities across Canada, and helped Tony in countless ways to make his dream a reality. And of course – Tony Griffin – for championing our dream to overcome ovarian cancer.
“Who said the world could not be changed one person at a time??” - Tony Griffin
Tony in Toronto
Cycle for Life - Celebrate Life
In October 2008, more than 50 cyclists teamed up with the Tony Griffin Foundation for a 12-day, 4,300 km bike ride from Halifax, NS, to Austin, Texas. Cycle for Life - Celebrate Life was a fundraiser for three cancer-related charities: the Lance Armstrong Foundation, Craig's Cause (pancreatic cancer) and Ovarian Cancer Canada (OCC). Tammy O'Dwyer, National Director of Development for Ovarian Cancer Canada, and Pat McDonald of Halifax, an Ovarian Cancer Canada Board member and ovarian cancer survivor, whose son Todd participated in the event, were on hand for the emotional arrival of the cyclists in Austin. The event raised $150,000 in support of Ovarian Cancer Canada. In 2007, Ovarian Cancer Canada was one of several cancer charities to receive proceeds from Tony Griffin's 7,000 km cross-Canada Ride for the Cure.