I am excited about writing this post. Time to come clean. I am no angel.
I hope that you enjoy. It is very important to the success of this mission that my audience get involved and show support. 501c3 approval is right around the corner and this will open up many online donation platforms. This has taken a long time but we are set and ready to go. We just need volunteers with the interest in networking for our cause, so that we will be more effective with our outreach, which is necessary to the success of the Helgi Olafson Foundation(HOF).
HOF is always accepting donations via the Paypal "Donate" button on the bottom of the page at http://www.helgiolafson.org.
We are also accepting requests to be on the Board of Directors as well as members of the board. You should have have previous work experience in a management capacity if you are interested in being a Director of the Board. HOF welcomes requests for more information from those who have a vested interest in raising awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis and Arthritis. We will advise you on how you can help raise awareness in your community.
I have lived a lucky life. I am very happy with how I have changed my life around over the past few years. I am using this post to express how I feel about my progress and how training for endurance sports has made me a better person who now has a purpose: Ankylosing Spondylitis Awareness.
Many of you probably think I don't have any skeletons in my closet, but I do, just like everyone else. I most likely have more than the average Joe. Many probably also think that my A.S. isn't nearly as bad as theirs. That I couldn't possibly be training as hard without any complications associated with flare-ups and fusion.
Well, YOU are WRONG.
I come from a family where my dad was an alcoholic( not the angry kind, which was good), My parents were divorced when I was 10 and my mother has remarried 2 times since. I love my mother very much and she has lived a hard life supporting the upbringing of my brother and I, and also my two half-sisters. My father was a great man and I wish he could be here to see what I am accomplishing right now in life. He would be proud. He died 4 years ago from Type 2 Diabetes. My father beat his body up for his whole life. He did it all: cigarettes, pot, cocaine, heroin, anything that was available. My father was a functioning addict, but he paid the price for it later on in life. He ate irregular meals, too. My father was definitely not a great example to follow as far as maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
In Florida, I spent my early teens doing early teen stuff. I would take things apart in the garage and try to reassemble, sometimes with success. I mowed lawns for extra cash and had lots of chores around the house. My mom's new husband was kind of weird. He passed out every night on the porch with a beer in his hand. He yelled at my mom and made her feel like shit. Not a good situation for a troubled teen to grow up in.
Yes, Troubled. I started drinking and smoking cigarettes at age 15, along with marijuana. I was skipping school and just getting the grades I needed to get by. I got caught stealing merchandise from a store and ended up in teen court. But I still wasn't a gem. I ended up graduating from military school in South Carolina and getting a chance to make a fresh start as a college student in the Air Force ROTC Scholarship Program at Florida State University(FSU).
FSU was a shock...but so much fun. The beautiful women, the parties, the feeling of being "on my own."
It was very addicting to someone like me. I partied hard and my grades suffered. I never did my homework and I lost interest in school. Though I was President of the Arnold Air Society pledge class of 2002, I didn't leave enough time to focus on my school and homework. I skipped from job to job and worked to support myself. It was very hard to get it right.
I spent the next few years moving around Florida and working in the restaurant business, honing my skills for my career in culinary arts. I met many people and I was a part of many great experiences. I was also a part of many bad experiences. I was in debt, I had been arrested for alcohol related charges involving violence and driving, I was unable to hold a relationship for more than 3 months. In my mind, I was Billy Badass. Not the case. I was actually a dumbass, with no regard for the law.
My A.S. never really affected me, unless I ran out of ENBREL. Then I was in trouble.
I was into some edgy stuff. Still smoked, still got wasted, cheated on my girlfriends, still drove without a license, still needed a clue. I ended up losing my license for years to come because of my stupid decisions. I knew I had to make some changes in my life, but I didn't know how or where to start. So I moved to Arizona to go to Scottsdale Culinary Institute. I ended up getting an awesome job as lead line cook opening up a new Asian-themed restaurant in a hip W Hotel. My interest in school was very minimal. I was into biking and running alot when I was in Scottsdale, but the place just wasn't for me.
I moved to Portland and checked out the food scene there. Portland was great!! Plus, my brother lives there. It was great to be in the same city as him. He has also been a huge part in helping me see the light by setting the example as a big brother. He has been a great life coach of a brother, that's for sure!! Trust me, he has seen me at my worst!
Portland was the first place that I lived, where I really enjoyed my life. I had some great friends, I was a part of some great activities and I was happy, but I still wasn't doing the right thing all of the time. I still needed to find my way. I had a reputation of being very arrogant and hard to deal with at times, especially when I was drinking. I developed an addiction to video poker gambling and I lost thousands of dollars. I needed to separate myself from this situation.
I gained some great work experience in Portland, fell in love a few times, and managed to still be unsatisfied. I decided to apply for a job on a private charter yacht that was built in 1931. This was a summer job in the inside passage of Alaska. What an awesome opportunity to make new lasting relationships and to see the untouched beauty of the Final Frontier. Whales, Bears, Eagles, Salmon, Halibut, Seals, Sea Lions, Sea Otters, Glaciers, Rivers, Waterfalls, you name it! Alaska changed my life!
When I returned home to Portland I struggled to maintain, but managed to get a place to live and support myself financially. It was tight, but I made it happen. I was denied a few great opportunities as Executive Chef due to my record. This was disheartening. I ended up landing a job working as a "Food Judge" for the FOX Network series Masterchef 3. I traveled to different cities around the country to judge the food for the open-call auditions. Again, GREAT experience! I wouldn't change any of it because it is a pat of my existence.
Hawaii was the next move. My parents needed someone to take over their kitchen at the restaurant they own in Hawaii, so it was time to get rid of all of my belongings and jump ship. It was a hard decision, but I had to give my beautiful black lab Koll away to a friend who could provide a better life for him. It was a god few years with my pup, but he deserved better and I needed a fresh start. Now I have it!!!
I am a creative being, and I have always had lofty expectations of myself. This has continually set me up for failure. I come up with these great ideas, and then I don't follow through. I have made it so people don't trust me. I believe I have burnt a few bridges along the way, and I am sorry to those I have disrespected while living my selfish way of life. But, I wouldn't change any of my life experience. I have been so many places, met so many people, and seen so many interesting things while being a part of the GOOD and the BAD, which are equally as important. I am grateful to accept the burden of my mistakes. I intend to make a better life for myself and those around me...one that speaks leaps and bounds above my younger days.
My mom was the only consistent force with me for the duration of my life. Believe me, she was very hard on me and I am thankful for all of her tough love. I believe that my mother is a big reason why I have the confidence to carry such a big weight on my shoulders with my mission to raise awareness for A.S., while training to become a professional endurance athlete. THIS TIME, I am not going to let success slip away. I have devoted my life
to making this work. With the help of advisers, I have taken the
neccesary steps to set up this 501c3 Helgi Olafson Foundation to raise
awareness for Ankylosing Spondylitis.
What has endurance sports training done for me?
I moved to Hawaii in the beginning of 2012. I quit smoking cigarettes the day I left Portland, Oregon. It was time to get my life right. Hawaii is so beautiful. Though I grew up here from age 6 to 13, and lived here again for a few months at age 22, it wasn't the same. I wasn't ready until this time. I have met some great people who live reasonably healthy and active lifestyles. These were great people to surround myself with. I joined Waikoloa Canoe Club(WCC) and though new to the sport, became one of the stronger paddlers in the club. The WCC became my gateway into endurance sports. One of the members asked me if I would like to run for a relay team for an upcoming Olympic distance triathlon. I accepted and started training from that day forward. The race was only a few weeks away. I did well on race day, but it made me want more. I wanted the satisfaction of completing the whole race, including the swim and the bike. This day in March of 2012 was the day that I started on this mission to raise awareness. I have been sticking to my guns and showing race results and potential for better results. I have successfully expanded my network to include many great sources of awareness for A.S. and Arthritis. I have proven and will continue to prove that, even with such a debilitating disease, I am competitive in the top fifth percentile in triathlon. My Ankylosing Spondylitis is at bay because I am being proactive and listening to my body. I practice what I preach and I hope to inspire other people around the world to follow suit, whether or not they have A.S. or Arthritis. Let us get healthy and stay there. A.S. can be a manageable condition.
Make no mistake:
I would not be able to do what I am doing without the help of fans, friends, family and the assistance of my sponsors. Thank you very much Oomph! Sports, Paceline Products, Newton Running, Bio-Astin, The Spondylitis Association of America and Bike Works Hawaii. I look forward to serving as your ambassador for 2013 and beyond!! I hope we have a great season! Together, we can touch the lives of people throughout the world!
Please Email me if you are interested in more information about how you can help. Thanks for reading!
My crazy quest for IRONMAN
I am on a mission to raise awareness and money for Ankylosing Spondylitis(A.S.) and arthritis through my competitions and rise to the top as a professional triathlete with A.S.. IRONMAN 2013 here I come. I have been training extremely hard and I won't stop until I get there!!!
"ENDURANCE For Ankylosing Spondylitis"