Community rallies behind man’s dream despite diagnosis

(WISH Photo/Drew Blair)

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Stage four brain cancer has forced an Indianapolis man to retire from the career he loved, but if he has it his way, Jeff Wilson won’t be kept from much else.

The former sergeant for the Marion County Sheriff’s Office has undergone two surgeries to remove tumors since a January 2014 diagnosis of glioblastoma.

In November 2015, doctors notified Wilson that the cancer returned for a third time.

“Two things in our lives, no matter what situation we face, is either we’re going to go after it or we’re going to sit back and feel sad for ourselves. I’m the one who is going to go at this and I’m going to beat it no matter what,” Wilson said.

The news came as members of the fitness community in central Indiana rallied behind Wilson and his dream of completing a triathlon. He made the decision to train to swim, bike and run after watching a friend compete in an event this summer.

“It just grabbed me by both hands and hugged me and said ‘this is where you need to go,’ and I am so excited about it,” Wilson said.

By the summer of 2016, Wilson has planned to race on his own but he will not reach the dream alone.

Once a potential customer of T3 Cycling and Triathlon in Westfield, Wilson has become the subject of a benefit where donors will bike on his behalf.

Store owner Vern LaMere met Wilson when the aspiring triathlete was researching a bike purchase. LaMere decided to launch a fundraiser to support a bike purchase, gear and Wilson’s race registration fee.

“Jeff’s an incredible guy. I wanted to give something back. I knew that he wasn’t able to work anymore and I knew his medical bills were starting to mount up, so it’s just something that we thought we’d do to give back to a person who really deserves it,” LaMere said.

To achieve the goal of raising $3,000, LaMere will collect all payments made from cyclists using indoor bike trainers at the Westfield store.

Participants will book time to attach their personal bikes to Wahoo Kickr trainers and ride for an hour at a time. The fundraiser goes through November 27.

Wilson said he cannot communicate his gratitude for LaMere and the community’s generosity.

“For the people to step out here, all I can do is pray and thank them. I don’t know any other thing to do,” Wilson said.

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