Running For Dreams is a private 501c3, grant-based foundation created to help kids who have lost a parent to cancer realize a dream they feel may be out of their family’s means now.
How It Works
Phil de Gruy is a 2x cancer survivor, first diagnosed with Stage III Colon Cancer June 13, 2015. Thirteen months after surgery and 6 months of chemotherapy cancer was back, spreading to his lungs. Phil opted to have half of his left lung removed, refused treatment and set out on a lifestyle change to beat cancer naturally.
After reading an article about a study done in the early 1980’s suggesting endurance training builds the immune system against terminal disease like cancer Phil said, “I’m going from Stage IV to 140.6, I’ll do a full Ironman Triathlon.”
Since then Phil has done 4 Sprint Triathlons, 2 half marathons, 1 marathon and 2 ultra marathons. All along the training and completing these events Phil knew there was a purpose for his health. During the last few miles of his first ultra marathon, the New Orleans Ultramarathon (50 miles) Phil felt that purpose was to help kids who have lost a parent to cancer.
At the age of 12 Phil lost his Dad, it was the middle of the 7th grade in the very beginning of his first wrestling season. He hadn’t even competed yet. “For me, all I really wanted was to go to a wrestling camp but I knew my Mom couldn’t afford that.”
The father of 4 boys knew his boys were lucky. They watched as Dad battled cancer and they had concerns and questions but they were fortunate not just with his recovery and health but they really didn’t miss much. “My family has been truly blessed and I want to help others.”
And Running for Dreams was born….
Wracked with survivor’s guilt since deciding I wasn’t going to do treatment and having the strength and health to do these endurance events and the training leading up to them I always knew there was a purpose. In the waning miles of my first 50 mile race I feel I found that purpose, to help kids who have lost a parent to cancer.
After speaking with my own sons to see if this resonated with them I started talking to friends who have experience in non-profits. I started reaching out and networking with others who have started foundations. Doing some research I found unlimited resources for cancer treatment, research, patient services but not much that helped kids. Not for things I feel kids want but maybe they aren’t asking for.
The more people I spoke with the more I was told this is needed and the more assistance I was given. For the 10 years I owned my restaurants PHIL-anthropy was a big part of my culture and mission. We decided that carrying that forward even without the restaurants would still be recognizable at least in the New Orleans Market. I’ve been blessed with some incredibly generous friends who have jumped in to help grow this vision into a reality.
Board of Directors
Richard Clement, Secretary
Paul Queyrouze, Treasurer
Casey O’Flynn, General Counsel