We at LLS will be cheering on one of our own during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi later this month.
Bryan Fletcher, who spent most of his life in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, was only three when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He endured seven years of chemotherapy and survived a stroke before finally going into remission.
Now 27, he is one of the world’s elite Nordic combined (cross country skiing and jumping) athletes, and last week learned he would be among those representing the U.S. at Sochi. His brother, Taylor, will also compete in the Nordic combined events at Sochi.
Bryan is not just a survivor, but a committed Team In Training alumnus, having trained and participated, and served as an honored hero, with both the Colorado and Utah chapters of LLS for events, including Moab Century Tour, a 100-mile cycling event. Bryan also partnered with the Utah chapter to design a special helmet embellished with pictures created by two children who are leukemia survivors. He wore the helmet during the World Cup competition this year to raise awareness about pediatric cancer. Olympic rules will prevent him from wearing the helmet in Sochi, but after he returns from Russia he intends to donate the helmet to the chapter to auction during its Man and Woman of the Year grand finale gala. The two children, Rhett and Charlotte, are the chapter’s Boy and Girl of the Year. Rhett designed a picture depicting himself as Spiderman battling the evil villain, cancer, and Charlotte drew a fearless lion and a champion standing on the podium with a first-place trophy. The designs are painted onto Bryan’s helmet, along with words central to the children’s fight: “courage,” “relentless” and “fearless.”
Visit www.teamintraining.org to learn more or to sign up.
(Photo, right, courtesy of Sarah Brunson, U.S. Ski Team; below, helmet with pediatric cancer survivors' designs)