Youth, charity served at Chapel Hill triathlon

We were recently featured by the News & Observer’s Kyle Jahner.

Jahner came our to our 7th Annual Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon this past weekend, Sept. 8, 2013. Read his story below, which originally appears here.

Youth, charity served at Chapel Hill triathlon

By Kyle Jahner

CHAPEL HILL — Like a father needing to buy a bigger bike for a growing child, the Swim for Smiles Youth Triathlon shifted to a bigger locale for its seventh edition.

But the core didn’t change: Tens of thousands of dollars raised and hundreds of competitors pouring sweat – and in cases blood and tears – into a morning of swimming, biking and running.

More than 520 youngsters aged five to 19 participated in the event concocted from Gary Kayye’s love of triathlons and his gratitude for the hospital that saved his daughter’s life. This year the Briar Chapel neighborhood south of Chapel Hill hosted what Kayye said will likely be the second largest youth triathlon in the country.

As it has grown over the years, the race – with its motto “kids helping kids” – has raised more than $200,000 for children’s hospitals, most of it going to the N.C. Children’s Hospital.

At the hospital in Chapel Hill, Kayye’s daughter was diagnosed at age four with acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, a rare neurological disorder. She was treated for nine weeks. She survived and is now 17.

“That’s a life-changing experience. A doctor at the North Carolina Children’s Hospital saved her life, so it made me want to give back to that hospital at some point in time,” Kayye said. “When I got involved in triathlons, that’s when I started noticing kids (didn’t have their own triathlons) – and I put two and two together.”

Continue reading and view his awesome pictures here.

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