Our own Susan Apgood is chair of the board for JUST TRYAN IT, a non-profit foundation supporting families fighting childhood cancer. JUST TRYAN IT seeks to positively impact the lives of families whose children have been diagnosed with cancer by providing them with financial assistance. It strives to instill the importance of philanthropy and service, promote wellness, and inspire tomorrow’s leaders to make a difference in their communities.

Here is how we started. After, what Ryan’s parents thought was a pulled muscle, he was taken to the doctor to be checked out. Everything seemed okay and Ryan was back in school two days later. When Ryan woke up in the middle of the night, a week and a half later, screaming that his back and hip were hurting, it was back to the doctor’s office. The doctor sent Ryan for a full blood work up and a hip x-ray. Then, the phone rang at 10:30pm. The pediatrician had consulted with the head pediatric oncologists at Children’s Hospital and Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. Ryan needed more tests in the morning. At Georgetown Hospital, Ryan and his parents met with the head of the oncology department to discuss what might be happening. Nervous and afraid as to what they would find…they checked in that morning, and Ryan did not leave the hospital again for 21 days!

Ryan was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on December 23, 2009. When most families were preparing to spend the holidays with family and friends, Ryan’s family was preparing for a terrifying, grueling journey. 3 ½ years of treatment started with 3 weeks in the hospital, filled with chemotherapy, steroids, scans, blood work, shots and much, MUCH more!

The Darby’s were lucky. Ryan’s diagnosis was hopeful. They were surrounded by friends and family that helped them in EVERY WAY possible. While the journey to being cancer-free was a long one, today, Ryan is a healthy, thriving teenager. Ryan’s dad is known to say, “cancer picked the wrong kid.” Indeed, it did. Ryan has taken his difficult experience and turned it into good. Through the Foundation that bears his name, JUST TRYAN IT, he advocates on behalf of other kids with cancer, he speaks to crowds to raise awareness of the challenges associated with pediatric cancer, he inspires us with his motto, “never look back.”

That is where JTI comes in. They host kids’ triathlons to help raise money for families in need and to instill the importance of giving back at a young age through our race participants.

There are three races taking place in 2018:
• Chapel Hill, NC on Sunday, April 29;
• Bethesda, MD on Sunday, June 17; and
• Alexandria, VA on Sunday, September 16.

Find out more about this great organization at:
• Website: http://justtryanit.com/
• Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JUSTTRYANIT/
• Twitter: https://twitter.com/JUSTTRYANIT
• YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/JUSTTRYANIT
· JUST TRYAN IT Foundation Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erZLX7BoEdQ