Puerto Rico Recovery & Triathlon

(Photo: Celebrating Christmas in P.R. with mom, me, Abuela, my brother, and Tio Fico.)

UPDATE: Please checkout my training blog https://sites.google.com/view/iraceforpuertoricosavas

Doing a half ironman has always been a bucket list item for me, and when I learned there was a race in Puerto Rico, I knew that it had to be THE ONE. Puerto Rico is where my mother is from, a place where some of my family members still live, a place that is a part of me.

Puerto Rico is ...
chasing coqui with mi abuela under the banana tree in the back of her house, 
enjoying piragua in the hot sun after visiting el moro with my family, 
learning about la historia de Los Tainos from my tio, 
enjoying the beaches and snacks of bacalaitos with my mom on my 16th birthday trip,
vacationing with Chris for the first time, 
adopting our dogs from the Vieques Humane Society.

(Photo Below: Meeting Nica and Eilu (the dogs we would adopt) at the Vieques Humane Society Shelter.)

I planned to do the Ironman Puerto Rico 70.3 race which is in March of 2018, before hurricane Irma and Maria hit the island. I always intended on fundraising during my training for different charities on the island since Puerto Rico's economic crisis has resulted in high rates of unemployment, crumbling infrastructure,  cuts to social services, and environmental degradation. And now, in the wake of two hurricanes, the island has a tremendous amount of rebuilding and recovery to do in an already very fragile state. 

I am bursting with so many different emotions and questions about what is ahead for both PR and myself in our next chapters, but if there’s one thing I have learned from triathlon it is how determined and resilient the human spirit can be in the face of challenge.

Each step, stroke, and pedal I take this year will be dedicated to the people of Puerto Rico.

Please support me in my efforts to use my triathlon training as a vehicle for supporting Puerto Rico.

I haven't fully decided which organizations in Puerto Rico will be the recipients of the funds because the recovery efforts are still unfolding and I want to make sure that the money goes towards where it is needed most. At this point, I am definitely planning on giving to the Vieques Humane Society (where Chris and I met and rescued our 2 dogs from), and the other organization has yet to be determined, possible Unidos por Puerto Rico or the Hispanic Federation.

At the Vieques Humane Society the funds will be spent to help them rebuild their shelter which was severely damaged during Hurricane Maria and to provide care for the animals they rescue. 

In March when I travel to Puerto Rico to compete in the half ironman race in San Juan. I plan to withdraw the funds before my trip there so that I can deliver the checks in person and engage in service with recipient organizations. However, if this proves difficult, then I may transfer it to them through paypal or on their website.

As the situation and long term needs become more clear, I will decide on where to direct my fundraising efforts and keep you informed.

Thank you for hearing my story and considering supporting me in my efforts. 

Con amor, fuerza y aprecio,
with love, strength and appreciation, 

- Vanessa

(Below: Me on the beach in San Juan where the race begins and ends! A place, I'd frequent with family.)

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Vanessa Savas 
Boston, MA
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