Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Meet the Coach: Bill Luisi

Bill Luisi wears many hats for the North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).  He is survivor, honored hero, Team In Training (TNT) coach/mentor/participant, Outreach Chair for the Mission Task Force, to name a few.  He is currently one of the coaches for the SPRUMMER season and introduced himself in his own words:
Tell us about your background/experience.My active involvement with LLS began four years after I was diagnosed with CCL in 2004, when I was asked to be the honored hero for a Leukemia Cup Regatta.   After the event I mentioned to Libby Kaczmarek, the campaign manager, that I just bought a road bike.    She responded by telling me to check out TNT and I immediately signed up for the 2011 AMBBR in Lake Tahoe.    As a lifelong athlete, TNT initially created a way for learn road cycling and do something positive for the cause of curing blood cancer.   We had a large team that year from North Texas and many personal friendships came from those months training together.   The coaching was exceptional such that by June we were truly ready to ride 100 miles.   The inspiration dinner with everyone from all over country was overwhelming, and cemented my belief that I wanted to continue to be involved with TNT.  
Why did you choose to coach for TNT?
After my first cycling and first triathlon with TNT all in 2011, I wanted to continue to be a part of the program while not able to fundraise every season.    This led me to get involved as Team Mentor.   This was certainly helpful and rewarding, however I saw I could make an even greater contribution as a coach.   So I started out as an assistant coach for the marathon team.    Again my expectations were exceeded in the amount of satisfaction I gained from seeing each team member grow in strength and confidence to finally be able to cross the finish line.
Why do you do marathons, century rides or triathlons?
Throughout my life I have been a person who looks for and enjoys new challenges and experiences.     I ran almost every day to train for my sporting interests, which have been many.   I also enjoyed completing a number of running events focused on some charitable cause.    Cycling never seemed to get my attention, but after my TNT experience, I was hooked.    This led me to see how I could take it to the next level and compete in triathlons.   Some may not understand this, but training and competing is a joy filled experience for me.     It fulfills a need in me to perform physically and mentally, to test my limits, and to reach a challenging goal. 
What is your favorite thing about TNT?
TNT is really about getting to know like-minded goal oriented people, who not only care about themselves, but more importantly care about others.    I find it very satisfying and pleasing to share the belief that by our efforts we can and we are making a difference in the lives of others.    As such, I feel I am actually fulfilling a higher purpose for my life.
What would you say to someone thinking about joining TNT?
If you have any desire to commit to a training program for your health and wellbeing, there is no better place to do this than with TNT.    The program is built for all levels of fitness and ability, so there should be no fear of being left behind or unsupported.     And the big plus is that you are doing this with the added purpose of helping others who are suffering and even dying because we still lack the proper treatment.     TNT is your way -- your chance to make a difference in “your” world.
# 1 Piece of advice: 
Don’t let the fundraising obligation intimidate you.    The mission of the LLS is being met by people like us who aren’t afraid to ask for help, because we know that money is going to the right place and that people, like me, are alive today because of the research funded by the LLS.

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