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Perry Settlemoir racing to help save lives
Perry Settlemoir pedals a stationary bike next to his mother’s Red Hat Society Real Attitudes fund-raising booth at the Farmer’s Market at Library Park on Tuesday while wife, Stacy, looks on while holding a picture showing her husband at 320 pounds. - photo by ROSE ALBANO RISSO/ The Bulletin
Perry Settlemoir is running, swimming and bicycling his way to a healthier tomorrow.

The Calla High School graduate, who went from 320 pounds about a year and three months ago to about 223 pounds – so far – this week said goodbye to the extra 97 pounds the hard and arduous way by religiously training for the Pacific Grove Triathlon on September 11.

“I’m training six days a week between one (hour) and four hours a day depending on which day it is, running a couple of days, riding my bike, and swimming about three miles a week in a pool in Modesto,” said the professional sanitary welder who currently works for Americor Mechanical in Turlock.

That’s his official triathlon training which he started just last month. The exercise regiment he did prior to that was all on his own. He actually started it right in the hospital after he went under the knife at a hospital to have his gall bladder removed. That was the health scare that started it all for Settlemoir.

“That night after my gall bladder was removed, I started walking laps around the nurse’s station. I took it easy at first but started going more and more, and I felt real fortunate that it was just a simple surgery,” he recalled.

“When my gall bladder went bad, the doctor told me that I really needed to think about losing weight and getting healthy,” he said.

“In doing so, I found out I can also help other people,” he said of his exercise regimen.

So from his laps at the hospital’s nurse’s station, he graduated to participating in charity event runs. The first one was the 5K run in Turlock for children born with cranial and facial disorders. Next, he participated in Ripon’s Rena’s Run.

At the Turlock Relay for Life on  April 24 held at the California State University, he walked and jogged over 40 miles for 24 hours, taking only a couple of rests and a dinner break.

“Other than that, I stayed up the whole night,” he said, with his wife Stacy, daughter Shauna, his son and a nephew cheering him on and offering moral support. His daughter, a sociology major at Stan State, was the cheerleading team captain as well as co-captain and team captain of the relay.

For his efforts and dedication at the Turlock Relay for Life for the American Cancer Society, Settlemoir was named “The Most Dedicated Relayer.”

Triathlon at Pacific
Grove on Sept. 11
The father of four did not stop there. After reading a book written by the world famous and retired triathlon athlete, Brad Kearns, he was inspired to take on the challenge himself.

“I actually got to meet him. Me and my wife volunteered to help him with the triathlon,” Settlemoir said.

He has also joined the triathlon group, Team in Training, which supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  “They have coaches that work with people like me and they teach you how to run a marathon. I have professional trainers and coaches working with me and helping me,” Settlemoir said.

He meets with his training group a minimum of two days a week. They run at Modesto Junior College, or go to Knights Ferry to do that. For his swimming training, he goes to the Natomas Raquet Club in Sacramento.

Even though this is his first triathlon, “I’m not scared at all,” Settlemoir said. “I scuba dive in Monterey regularly, so I’m not afraid of the water.”

He has been scuba diving for 13 years and sometimes works at the Monterey Express as a rescue diver.

The triathlon will actually consist of a .9-mile swim in the ocean followed by a 25-mile bike ride and then run for six miles.

One of the reasons he picked the triathlon in Pacific Grove has to do with wife Stacy. “Right at Lover’s Point, that’s where I got married in 2002,” Settlemoir said.

The other reasons have to do with the significance of the Sept. 11 date for the triathlon and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Everybody knows what happened on Sept. 11, 2001 which started the War on Terror, he said.

“To me, this (triathlon) is another way to fight another terror that’s killing people every day. It’s kind of my way of fighting back against terrorism. This terrorism – leukemia and lymphoma – kills one person every 11 minutes,” he said of the two deadly diseases.

Settlemoir, in fact, is dedicating his triathlon to the memory of the late Linda Bass, the best friend of his mother, LaDonna Settlemoir of Manteca, who lost her battle against leukemia 30 years ago at a young age.

He has also decided to donate 75 percent of his triathlon fund-raising goal of $5,000 to 65-year-old Shirley John of Riverbank who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in November of 2006. The following year, in November of 2007, her 68-year-old husband, Edward, was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma. He had a stem cell transplant a year later, in November of 2008. His doctors thought the transplant was successful. But in mid-January of this year, while his wife was in the hospital with stage 3 lymphoma, it was discovered that his multiple myeloma had returned. He started another treatment but lost the battle on Feb. 26.

With her husband’s demise, Shirley John is facing “insurmountable medical costs.” Not only is she suffering the loss of her husband of 49 years; his death also reduced her income at a time when she needed the financial boost the most. Her co-pay for her chemotherapy treatments is $1,200 every three weeks. She still has two treatments left of her total eight treatments. Stacy Settlemoir said that if they are able to raise the $5,000 goal of her husband, Shirley John will not have to worry about paying for the remaining two treatments with the donation of 75 percent of their fund-raising proceeds.

He has to raise the $5,000 by August 1.

Several people, including his mother and her Red Hat Society called Red Attitudes, as well as Joe Kelley of Kelley Brothers Brewery in Manteca, have stepped forward to help the triathlon athlete-in-training to reach his fund-raising goal. They have set up the following fund-raising events for this purpose:

•Saturday, June 26, a “marathon” garage sale sponsored by Ladonna Settlemoir will be held at 562 Alpine Street in Manteca “from dawn to dusk.”

•Saturday, July 10, a tri-tip/chicken dinner with all the trimmings will be held at Kelley Brothers. Local trivia about the connection between Perry Settlemoir and Kelley Brothers: Settlemoir, the welder, did all the welding work for the brewery.

The father of four and grandfather of one – his oldest, Perry III is a math teacher at Edison High School in  Stockton – said his decision to lead a healthier lifestyle has resulted in a lot of positive dividends.

“My feet used to hurt a lot, and my knees would hurt me a lot. Now, they feel pretty good,” he said of the dramatic change that has happened since he lost nearly a third of his original 320-lb. weight.

“I’m just trying to be healthy,” said Settlemoir whose weight goal is 200 lbs.