Patrick (Pat) Fallon, a businessman and member of the Texas House of Representatives from Denton County, has never run a marathon. Yet, during the last week of January 2016 he will be competing in the World Marathon Challenge where he will attempt to complete seven marathons on seven continents in just seven days – the first non-marathoner to do so – all to raise money for a cure to end pediatric cancer.
Fallon is aiming to raise $77,777 by competing in the World Marathon Challenge, an extreme running competition in which runners face a grueling schedule that begins at Union Glacier, Antarctica, and ends a week later in Sydney, Australia. Other stops include Punta Arenas, Chile, Miami, Florida, Madrid, Spain, Marrakech, Morocco and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Competitors must contend with 30,000 miles of air travel, sleep deprivation, dietary challenges, extreme temperatures fluctuations, jet lag and of course running 183 miles in just week's time.
Only eleven other people have ever successfully completed the challenge. In comparison, to date, four thousand people have summited Mt. Everest. Fallon, a novice runner with only a handful of 5K races under his belt, would be the first non-marathoner to do so. At age 48, he would also be one of the oldest members of this very exclusive club.
Fallon was inspired by a young boy from Jerseyville, Illinois, named Jonathan “Jonny” Wade. Jonny was diagnosed in December 2014 with a rare, aggressive form of brain cancer at the age of seven. The journey of Jonny, his twin brother Jacky, and their parents, Jon and Kimberly, has been chronicled on a Facebook page called Project Team Jonny, which Fallon began following after a friend shared Team Jonny posts. More than 65,000 followers have followed Jonny’s journey through his pain, triumph, and unbreakable faith. Jonny bravely fought his battle until he passed away on Christmas Eve 2015, almost one year from the day that he was diagnosed.
Jonny had one wish: “I don’t want any other kid to have cancer.”
This wish resonated with Fallon, who is the father of two young boys.
“Jonny changed lives with his selflessness, his faith, courage, and his determination. This sweet little boy has impacted lives by the tens of thousands and touched people from around the world,” Fallon asserted. “Although I have never met this wonderful angel or his family, his journey and story spoke volumes to me! I want to do everything I can to make a difference in his memory and work toward making his final wish come true.”
Fallon wasn’t sure what he should do to help until lying in bed one night reading about the World Marathon Challenge. A few moments later he found himself reading a social media post on Jonny, an update, written by his mother Kimberly. The idea clicked – this could be big enough and crazy enough to make a difference. Fallon felt something this novel and this extreme could garner a good deal of attention and be an excellent vehicle to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research. He reached out to Jonny’s mother, Kimberly, through a mutual friend about his new mission: to join the World Marathon Challenge to raise money to work toward making Jonny's goal a reality.
“Jonny wanted badly for no other child to have to go through what he went through,” Kimberly said. “He once said to me, ‘If they want me to be a man, they have to help me be a man!’ Sadly, only 4 percent of federal government cancer research goes to pediatric cancer. That is simply not enough. I am hopeful that Jonny’s legacy will bring more awareness and help find the cure for the disease that took my Jonny. I am looking forward to seeing Pat complete his mission and thankful for what he is doing.”
Approximately 43 children in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer every day and six of those children will not win their courageous battle. To donate to Fallon’s fundraising campaign, visit https://give.everydayhero.com/us/fastercurechallenge or visit Fastercure.org and click on Jonny Wades' story. All proceeds will benefit the Pediatric Cancer Foundation to find a faster cure for pediatric cancer.
“As a parent, the thought of your child having cancer is as devastating as it is heart wrenching,” Fallon shared. “There is no cause more worthy than fighting alongside children battling cancer, and I am honored to do so in Jonny’s name. Our goal is to have hundreds if not thousands of folks join us on this amazing journey. Together we can shine a light pediatric cancer which threatens life just as it blossoms. Cancer is the number one cause of death by disease among children. Let's work toward changing that!"
Fallon is paying for all of his expenses out of his own pocket so all donations received will go directly to the Pediatric Cancer Foundation out of Tampa, Florida.
About the Pediatric Cancer Foundation:
With its national headquarters in Tampa, the Pediatric Cancer Foundation is a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding research to eliminate childhood cancer through the Sunshine Project, the Foundation’s collaborative research initiative. By employing doctors and researchers from the country’s top institutions, the Sunshine Project is fast-tracking the development of new drugs and therapies that will ultimately lead to the cure of childhood cancers. They have are a top rated organization and have received and are 'A' rated by the charity watchdog group Charity Navigator. For more information please go to www.fastercure.org.
About Patrick Fallon:
Patrick 'Pat' Fallon is the founder and owner of Virtus Apparel, a preprinted line of designer and activewear. He is also a member of the Texas House of Representatives and has served the people of Denton County as their elected legislator for House District 106 since 2013. Fallon is a 1990 graduate of the University of Notre Dame where he earned a degree in Government and International Relations and played varsity football under legendary coach Lou Holtz as a member of the 1988 national championship team. Fallon has called North Texas home for over 25 years and is happily married to his wife Susan. They have two sons, Thomas and Mac.
About the World Marathon Challenge: The World Marathon Challenge is owned and operated by Polar Running Adventures and their CEO, Richard Donovan. The competition begins annually in late January in Union Glacier, Antarctica and once the first marathon begins, runners have just 168 hours to complete seven marathons on all seven continents. The marathon at Union Glacier is currently the southernmost certified marathon held in the world and is the only one that is held annually on the Antarctic land mass and also within the Antarctic Circle. Eleven people have successfully completed the challenge to date and there are fifteen competing in the challenge in 2016. No one had ever yet completed the challenge without having previous marathon experience.