Earlier this year, 2015 XTERRA Warrior Award winner David DeSantis set out on a mission to race 16 XTERRA’s in 16 countries to raise $16,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
Not only did he meet those goals, he doubled them.
DeSantis raised more than $34,000 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation this season and inspired the XTERRA Tribe daily with his strength and perseverance.
The mission, however, did not go so smoothly. It started good. His cancer was in remission and he quickly conquered XTERRA Philippines, South Africa, Costa Rica, and Malta, all by April 3.
Then the cancer came back and started wreaking havoc on his body and his race travels.
He went back into chemotherapy and traded exotic races in far off places for Northeast Region races closer to home. When he couldn’t make a race, somebody stepped up and raced in his place, and all the while the donations for the Challenged Athletes Foundation kept rolling in.
The Tribe was excited to see him fulfill his campaign at the XTERRA World Championship in Maui, but it wasn’t meant to be. DeSantis made it to Maui, but soon after arrival the pain from the growth of new tumors inside and outside his rib cage proved too much to handle so instead of battling through the mud with his brothers he watched the action unfold online and was thrilled to see his designated racer Stephanie Landy win a world title in his honor.
While he accomplished his mission this season, DeSantis’ fight against cancer continues.
“But on a more positive note,” he said. “I just finished building a new mountain bike so I'll be ready for next season!”
Cheers to David DeSantis, our hero. Photo courtesy Julien Hebert.
Here is his personal note to the Tribe…
“With Maui in the books and #16 complete it has been one hell of 2016 XTERRA season. I am so honored to have been able to make this 16 in 2016 campaign happen and with such incredible success. None of it would have been possible without all the help, guidance and support of each and every one of you. Thank you for your generous donations and words of encouragement. I want to personally thank the five athletes, Ben Allen, Monica Metsky, Suzie Snyder, Alan Moore and Stephanie Landy, who stepped in for me to race when I was unable to. You kept the dream alive! A huge thank you to our sponsors, McLaren Boston and First Taunton Group. To my XTERRA family, especially Dave Nicholas, Janet Clark and Trey Garman, for embracing this campaign, it's message and my goals. You all have been.....well, freaking awesome is what honestly comes to mind. Thank you to my Team Pegasus coach, Beth Lamie who has been so supportive and patient with me as both a coach and good friend. Lastly, I have to thank my niece Rachael and wife Kathy. Kathy has followed me around the world supporting every crazy goal I have come up with. I wouldn't be here without you, Kath. With a final total of $34,152 for the Challenged Athletes Foundation and 16 races complete, I want to end with a short video (https://vimeo.com/190756428) that really sums up for me why I had this goal and what I hope makes you proud to have been a part of this campaign. See you all for the 2017 season!! Dave”