Early in the mornings, Chad Dingman runs long distances, bikes across the county, and swims laps at the YMCA. He has two goals: to complete an Ironman triathlon and to raise money for Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Cancer Special Needs Fund.
The race will take place on Sept. 29 in Chattanooga, Tenn. An Ironman event involves 2.4 miles of swimming, 116 miles of cycling, and a 26.2-mile run.
“I’ve done a half Ironman, so this is a new challenge,” Dingman said. Many Ironman events promote a specific charity. Dingman credits his daughter with suggesting that he raise money to support Gibbs Cancer Center patients. “I said, ‘Hey, I think you’re onto something. We should do this,’” he said.
As director of oncology support and the Center of Integrative Medicine at Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute, Dingman works closely with clinical navigators and social workers who support patients along their treatment journey.
He sees firsthand the barriers some patients face when it comes to treatment and recovery, including financial hardships. The Cancer Special Needs Fund helps assist with these barriers and needs.
It is not uncommon for the side effects of treatment to force patients to take extended time away from work. Financial challenges often follow.
“We started the Cancer Special Needs Fund, because we noticed a growing need for crisis financial support,” Dingman explained.
The fund can be used to help patients afford the cost of medications or to pay for transportation to and from physician appointments. In some cases, the fund helps patients pay utility bills or buy groceries.
The cause gives Dingman added motivation as he’s working out on these hot summer days.
“My training is really starting to ramp up. The heat isn’t helping – I have to get up early and do it,” he said. “But the opportunity to raise money for the Cancer Special Needs Fund is exciting. It’s nice to see how the fund is used to directly benefit our patients.”
To support Dingman’s Ironman fundraiser, visit regionalfoundation.com/donate-now and include “Chad’s Ironman” in the comments section.
Prepared by Spartanburg Regional Healthcare System.