This Ironman Athlete Won’t Quit Because He’s Running For Kids Who Can’t Quit


HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) — Dirk Pauley competes in triathlons. He did dozens of them, but not just to beat his best times.

The 52-year-old consultant for American Electric Power races to raise money for families who have children with cancer. He started doing it in 2017.

“There was this thought that there were children there. They don’t have the ability to stop,” he said.

For inspiration on race day, he writes on his forearm the name of each kid he’s running for, so he can see them at a glance. This encourages him to continue.

“I’m a triathlete trying to support the Pinky Swear organization through fundraising and an awareness effort,” he said from his home in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

The Pinky Swear Foundation is a non-profit organization that helps dozens of families fight cancer by providing financial assistance with day-to-day expenses.

Last year, the organization helped 13 Hawaiian families.

“Life goes on even if your child has cancer. There are still bills piling up. You still have to pay rent or a mortgage. You have to pay to put gas in your car. You have to pay to put groceries on the table,” said Jake Leif, Marketing Director of Pinky Swear.

Even though COVID canceled triathlons, Pauley still found a way to raise money for Pinky Swear.

“With COVID restrictions, I undertook a 140.6 triathlon on my own,” he said. “The day before this event, I received a video from a family who has a child with cancer.”

In 2021, Pinky Swear community fundraisers raised over $300,000. This year the goal is $500,000, and Pauley’s races are a big part of that effort.

“Dirk, is absolutely crushing him in this area,” Leif said. “But we also have people doing bake sales, or plant sales, or turkey scooters. That’s what they want to do with it.

In October, Pauley will compete in her first Kona Ironman World Championship, wearing her signature Pinky Swear racing gear that inspires other riders to ask questions. That’s what he wants.

“I want the world to see what Pinky Swear can do for families,” he said.

Its prize is knowing that it helps families whose struggle is tougher than any endurance race.

To learn more about Dirk Pauley’s fundraising, click here.

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