USAMRMC Employee Participates in 100-Mile Biathlon for Breast Cancer
U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command Human Resources Specialist Larry Tyson looks good in pink, and he should. Tyson recently completed a 100-mile biathlon in Washington D.C. on May 4, where he raised more than $1,800 for breast cancer research, while sporting a bright pink kilt.
2014 was Tyson's fifth year participating in the 39.3-mile Annual Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. However, to draw greater attention to the need to fight the disease, he tacked on a 61-mile bike ride to the marathon.
"I called the three-day event the '100-Mile Endurance for the Cure Biathlon,'" said Tyson. "This helped me raise money and physically challenge myself."
Tyson's sister Priscilla "Cilla" Brown died of breast cancer in 2007. He shared that her death motivated him to help raise lifesaving funds for combating the disease.
"Lots of things happen in life and you don't know about it until it affects you," said Tyson. "After my sister passed, I got deep into the American Cancer Society's relay for life. Then a friend told me about the Avon Walk."
Tyson participated in his first Avon Walk in 2009, calling his one-man team, "Team Cilla" after his beloved sister.
"I named my solo team this because of the ideal of her walking with me and supporting me every step of the way, through my memories of her," said Tyson.
On May 1, Tyson began his biathlon biking from his home in Abingdon, Maryland, north to the scenic town of Havre de Grace, Maryland. From Havre de Grace he pedaled to Baltimore City and back once again to Abingdon.
Tyson next arrived at the Washington Monument where he switched up his pink racing jersey for a homemade pink kilt and kicked off the two-day walkathon alongside 2,000 other participants.
"During the Avon walk, individuals come out in different attire," he said. "I fell in love with the kilt. I made a pink kilt to wear for the walks -- it's my signature look."
Walkers made their way to Meadow Brooks Park in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where they camped overnight in pink tents. According to Tyson, organizers arranged massage therapists, physical therapists, and hot showers for participants. The marathoners rose early the next morning and hiked the 13.1-mile trek back to the monument.
According to the Avon Walk's website, Washington, D.C. participants raised $4.5 million to accelerate breast cancer research; improve access to screening, diagnosis and treatment; and educate people about breast cancer.
Today, Tyson is a member of the organization's Georgetown/Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center team, a group of approximately 55 volunteers who primarily support the Capital Breast Care Center in Washington D.C. This year his team was recognized for raising the most money, a combined total of $194,000.
Commenting on his contribution to that total, Tyson said that he raised funds by organizing car washes, raffles, and maintaining a webpage where people could read about his story.
Tyson joined the U.S. Army in 1984 after graduating from Bessemer State Technical College. He served as senior enlisted advisor at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait and at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, amongst numerous deployments.
A retired 1st Sgt., Tyson joined USAMRMC more than two years ago as a human resources specialist. He helps coordinate the command's military and special awards program and trains subordinate units on human resource procedures. Tyson added that he helps subcommands prepare for organizational inspections and assists coordinating special emphasis programs such as black history month.
To stay in shape Tyson joins his Lombardi teammates on walks along local hiking trails and bikes between 40 and 60 miles every weekend. His enthusiasm for exercise has even rubbed off on some of his colleagues at work, notably G1 Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge 1st Sgt. Otis L. Oxford.
"I kept bugging and challenging him and he gave in and did a 20-mile training walk with me in mid-April," said Tyson.
Tyson said that his USAMRMC co-workers have been very supportive of his efforts to support the fight against breast cancer and he is thankful for that encouragement.
Already preparing for next year's biathlon Tyson said his goal is to complete 139.3 miles. He proudly shared that he has already started fundraising, and "working on next year's kilt."