The following is a Team LIVESTRONG story from an Austin LIVESTRONG Challenge participant Luke Neafus. There are many events you can take part in with Team LIVESTRONG. Go to our website to learn more about the run, walk, ride and tri events.
What is your name and where are you from?
My name is Luke Neafus and I am from Edmond, OK
In what event are you taking part?
Austin LIVESTRONG Challenge in October 2011. I also rode the Austin LIVESTRONG Challenge in 2010.
What is your cancer story?
I am 14 years old and although I don?t have cancer I have known too many people with cancer! I?ve won three Oklahoma State Championships in criterium and time trials. I spent most of the first two years of my life in a hospital. I have undergone numerous surgeries and still have more to undergo. I didn’t have normal hearing until I was 11 which has caused language delays but that will never stop me from talking to people about my passions: racing, Lance Armstrong and LIVESTRONG.
Last year I asked my parents if I could hold a LIVESTRONG fundraiser, instead of having a 13th birthday party, to honor my grandpa “Poppy” whom I lost in November 2007 to prostate cancer. I decided to turn my sadness into something positive for others. So, I set up “Luke’s Lemonade for LIVESTRONG” and walked the sidewalk of a busy intersection for five hours in 107-degree heat handing out cold drinks and loads of LIVESTRONG wristbands. I raised close to a $1,000 last year and rode in my first LIVESTRONG Challenge.
This year, I decided I could do more! So I got busy and held lots more fundraising events. I?ve held auctions on eBay and posted items on Craigslist. I sold a Commemorative Issue of Sports Illustrated autographed by Lance Armstrong and a Discovery Channel Team Cycling cap signed by George Hincapie. I held a LIVESTRONG garage sale, sold lemonade and bottled water. I spent one Saturday at Schlegel?s Bicycles (pro shop) selling raffle tickets and LIVESTRONG wristbands. I?m raffling off an autographed OU jersey signed by Adrian Peterson, Roy Williams, Mark Clayton and Tommie Harris. Also, my friend Noah Roberts, Co-founder of Docvia (Invisible Bracelet), is hosting a BBQ/auction fundraiser featuring guest chef Biju Thomas (Team Radioshack). This BBQ will honor Noah?s best friend Scott Raffe who passed away 4th of July from pancreatic cancer. He was an internationally renown photographer. I also was introduced at the WNBA?s Tulsa Shock LIVESTRONG game on June 18th to help raise awareness. I have already raised $4,451 of my original $5,000 goal and I?m hoping to raise enough this next month to qualify for the Ride for the Roses! It would be AWESOME if this happened and I got to meet my man, Lance Armstrong, but really it?s only about helping the 28 MILLION LIVING WITH CANCER.
What made you become part of Team LIVESTRONG?
I?m tired of people, like me, losing people they love to cancer. I lost my best grandpa, my mom?s dad, Poppy! I made me so sad when he was in the hospital, paralyzed and then he passed away. I?m still really sad because I had so much fun with him before the cancer. We had traveled together a lot and he gave me my first set of golf clubs. I love him so much! I didn?t want other kids to lose their parents, grandparents, brothers or sisters to cancer. So, I decided I could be just like Lance Armstrong, race my bicycle and help others. I became even more committed when my friend Noah lost his best friend, Scott Raffe. I met Scott?s wife at the memorial service and I hated that she was so heartbroken. So, I?m raising money because I want to put a STOP to CANCER. I became part of
Team LIVESTRONG last year and will participate every year! I want to put a stop to people being so sad because they lost their loved one. I want to help change people?s lives!
What would you like to say to a cancer survivor?
Focus, Work Hard and DON?T GIVE UP!