Donald Cook

Team Captain Team SHU CT Challenge 2019

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Don Cook Riding in the 2019 CT Challenge

I’m back again…

…. hopefully not to be a nuisance, but once again to seek your support for the CT Challenge (MISSION), and the CT Challenge “Chris Cook” Endowed Scholarship Fund in memory of my son, Christopher. 

Chris would have been 52 this past April. He passed away in April, 2014. He frequented the Center as he was physically able during the early stages of his disease. The Center staff knew and understood just what he and other visiting members needed to feel empowered to reclaim a healthier and happier life.  Programs of fitness, nutrition, mind-body health and community building support are examples of the support activities sponsored by the Center. 

Maybe more than any other benefit Chris was able to embrace the support of others waging their personal battle with this insidious disease. As broken-hearted as my family and friends are that Chris is no longer with us, I wanted to do whatever I could to keep his spirit alive by supporting the MISSION of the Center, a mission he held close to his heart.

To date we have awarded 12 scholarships to worthy Sacred Heart student cancer survivors. In their application essays each surviving student expressed how cancer made them who they are today, and that they had no regrets, or resentment that it was they who had the disease. Each in his or her own way said that had it not been for cancer they wouldn’t have become the people they are. 

One scholarship recipient said that “…cancer has given me purpose in life…it has given me the opportunity to help others… the disease helped me better understand how fragile and special every life is…”Talk about turning the insidious disease inside-out, and make a positive out of a horrible negative!

Thanks to Bobby Valentine, who for years has been the honorary chair of the Bike Ride and many in the Athletics Deparment, and the wonderful people at the Center, we anticipate this year’s Bike Ride to be the best ever.

This year the Bike Ride will be held on July 26th and 27th, but with an added theme in that it will be much more personal because once again the monies raised will support a scholarship initiated by the CT Challenge in Chris’ name for cancer survivors who attend Sacred Heart University as full time students.  The Center has developed a special partnership with Sacred Heart..

Here’s how you can help…

Joining the SHU ride team– we hope to recruit at least 100 riders to join me and Bobby Valentine on July 27th.  The CT Challenge will donate 75% of the monies raised by our Sacred Heart riders backto SHU to fund the scholarship.

Supporting our riders– if you can’t join us on the ride, please support our riders.  Your gifts will directly support a young person, a Sacred Heart student, battling cancer. 

In conversation with Chris prior to his death, he often expressed gratitude and respect for the wonderful people and resources provided by the Center. He spoke about how inspiring his visits were. Each visit refueled his body and lifted his spirit in ways that could not be measured.

This weeks marks the 6thconsecutive year in our effort to strengthen Team SHU’s commitment to the CT Challenge – I can think of no better way to celebrate my son’s life!

C. Donald Cook

Executive Director of Athletics Emeritus

Sacred Heart University  


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