SOUTHBURY, Conn. – Chappaqua native Jennifer O'Donnell-Giles is going a long way to honor the memory of her brother John O'Donnell; 140.6 miles to be exact.
On July 22, O'Donnell-Giles and her husband, Patrick, will swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles in the Ironman Lake Placid competition. They plan to raise $3,000 of donations in O'Donnell's memory.
"John suffered a seizure in May 2010 due to a severe hydration imbalance," O'Donnell-Giles said. "That is why my husband and I have chosen Aqua Clara International as our fundraising organization. They provide access to clean water for people across the world that do not have access to clean water."
O'Donnell-Giles said she has finally come out of the “haze” she was in after losing her brother, and realized giving back was the best way to honor his memory. She said she has already raised more than $2,000 from her community in Connecticut.
"Giving back was part of who he was," O'Donnell-Giles said. "I have never done something like this, but feel compelled to give back in honor of my brother."
John O’Donnell worked for WVIP Radio in Mount Kisco, Chappaqua Limousine and Mount Kisco Golf Club, and volunteered for the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Mount Kisco. He also worked on many local Westchester political campaigns. He attended Chappaqua schools, from Westorchard Elementary through Horace Greeley High School.
O’Donnell-Giles is a sports nutritionist, triathlon coach and Power Bar-sponsored athlete. She educates high school and adult athletes on maintaining ideal hydration status to support training and activity. O’Donnell-Giles said she and her husband are turning 40 later this year, which is the same age her brother was when he died.
“This is very meaningful to us,” she said.
Those who wish to support O'Donnell and her husband may visit their personalized fundraising page at ironman.kintera.org/aquaclara/jennpatgiles.