Patrick Engel

The week that Patrick Engel of Charlotte began his training for his first Ironman competition, his father, Daniel Engel, was diagnosed with lung cancer. Patrick says, “As the weeks went on, my training and his battle really became linked together in my mind. I knew I wanted to do something to tie the two together.”

Patrick EngelWhen Patrick’s father died on April 25th, he decided to turn his Ironman race into a fundraiser for UNC Lineberger, swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles and then running a marathon (26.2 miles) with the support of pledges from friends and family.

“Although I could have worked with any number of cancer-related charitable organizations, Lineberger just felt right. It is close to Charlotte, and it has ties to the school my wife, Jennifer, and I graduated from and love.”

“Jennifer also knew about UNC Lineberger from her undergraduate days when she chose to perform her sorority service hours at UNC Lineberger, working with a cancer awareness program. Jennifer was required by her sorority to perform service hours and she says her “heart was just drawn to volunteering at Lineberger”. “Jennifer had a very positive experience there.” Patrick notes, “Little did either of us know that her stepfather, Mel Jordan, would be treated there for lung cancer a few years later before his death in 1999.”

“My mother-in-law talked about how the staff was so compassionate with the way they handled his cancer battle. The staff made the treatments personal, and he didn’t feel like a number or ‘just another patient’.”

Patrick raised over $2600 online through UNC Lineberger’s peer-to-peer fundraising application and says, “It was very reassuring to know that every penny was going directly to UNC Lineberger to support the mission of research and patient care.”

“After losing my dad, Jennifer’s stepfather and grandmother to lung cancer, I was determined to make my Ironman experience more meaningful by using my race to honor them and raise funds for UNC Lineberger.”

Patrick finished his Ironman day in 10 hours and 55 minutes, which placed him 216th out of 2,797 participants. “It was a long, exhausting day but ended with a great feeling of accomplishment. Hearing ‘You are an Ironman’ when I crossed the finish line was just incredible” says Patrick of his experience. Even better than the physical accomplishment, Patrick is most of proud of the difference his generous donors made to UNC Lineberger. “Even if just one patient’s quality of life is improved, every mile raced and every minute spent training will be well worth it. I’m proud to have been part of such a great event and to have helped such a great organization as Lineberger” saya Patrick.

For information on how you can support UNC Lineberger through peer-to-peer fundraising — for any event — please call Jennifer Bowman at 919-966-5905 or email .