The Kristie Yaakoby Memorial Triathlon began simply because a daughter missed her mom and wanted to do something about it. A year after my mother died, I couldn’t shake the feeling that she had more work to do. My mom, a pillar in my small community, had dedicated her life to helping others through her work as a personal trainer and nutritionist. When cancer took her ability to work I saw the heartbreak in her eyes knowing she would be leaving her clients. When cancer took her life, it was an injustice to the world. I needed some way to continue her mission, right the wrong, some way to keep her alive. I couldn’t do it alone and so as I sat across the table from my fifth grade teacher and principal I knew extraordinary things were in our future.
The hardest part of seeking help is acknowledging that you need it at all. As I first approached this endeavor, the Kristie Yaakoby Memorial Triathlon began solely as a three mile run with an online donation site as the primary means of raising money. Knowing my mother’s dislike for running, I knew I would need assistance in honoring her properly. My planning team came together because our circumstances fit. I had a plan to honor my mother, Jeanne had a dedication to cancer awareness after losing her daughter, and Karen who had an affinity for planning races, had known my mother as a trainer and parent and Jeanne’s daughter, Abby, as her student. The three of us became the dream team. With every year the triathlon only grew in size and success. We had a commercial, attracted athletes from all over the state, and added a sprint distance to increase participation. In the end it was the cohesive efforts of three women that brought my mother back to me.