At the 2012 Ironman World Championship, a variety of brands and colors will be on full display, but many pro and age group triathletes will share one fashion statement: a white wristband printed with “WE LOVE AMY.”
The bands are a show of support for Kona-bound age grouper Amy Gluck, who was hit while riding by a large truck hauling gravel on Sept. 15. Gluck is currently in critical condition at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit.
Upon hearing of the accident, Gluck’s friend and teammate Kebby Holden felt nauseated. “It was such a shock and so unreal that this totally vibrant and fun gal I was looking forward to seeing [in Kona] was suddenly in a coma and a fight for her life.”
Holden, a co-founder of women’s triathlon clothing line SOAS Racing, looked to her team to develop a way to help Gluck. The “We Love Amy” sweatband was created as a way to bring Gluck to the Ironman World Championship. One hundred percent of the proceeds from the bands, which are sold for ten dollars on the SOAS website, will go to a charitable fund to help with Gluck’s recovery.
Within 24 hours of posting the bands online, over 200 were sold. At press time, over 500 bands have been sold. Professional triathletes expected to sport the wristband at the Ironman World Championship include Linsey Corbin, Meredith Kessler, Jordan Rapp, Michelle Gailey and Luke McKenzie.
Kessler, who has not met Gluck but knows her reputation as a popular, talented age-group triathlete, immediately jumped on the chance to support a fellow triathlete. Kessler will also use this as an opportunity to raise awareness of car-bike incidents:
“It seems like we hear about bike accidents like this bi-monthly, or more, and it reminds me why I do so much of my training indoors,” she explains. “It is so scary out there on the open roads when you can’t control what other drivers, people, and cyclists do.”
“I will be wearing a ‘WE LOVE AMY’ wristband in Kona in effort to support and honor Amy and her family during this very difficult time. In addition, I am hopeful that we can help raise awareness to people across the world to really hone in on safe, cautious and attentive driving so that these types of accidents do not continue to happen.“
Stuart Baskin, a friend and training partner of Gluck, tells Triathlete the friends and family of Gluck have been overwhelmed by the support from the triathlon community. In addition to the SOAS wristbands, there have been multiple events for Gluck, including a vigil at Henry Ford Hospital attended by 100 supporters. A fundraising ride at Island State Recreation Park is also in the planning stages.
“Amy is fighting each day. It’s a miracle she is alive,” says Baskin, “Now we focus on her recovery and we pray for her each and every day. We know this is no ordinary person. This is Amy, she is our star, and she will overcome any and all obstacles.”