After a long stay full of uncertainty at an Arizona hospital, American ultrarunner Tommy Rivers Puzey was diagnosed with primary pulmonary NK/T-cell lymphoma, a rare type of cancer, in late July. To help raise funds to cover his medical bills, a virtual running challenge called the Run with Rivs has been created. The challenge gives participants the chance to “join Rivers in the sports he adores,” and “run, ride, hike, paddle and/or walk for as many miles as you can to raise money for his family.” The fundraiser started on Saturday, and it is live until August 9 for anyone who would like to participate and donate.
View this post on Instagram
Let’s all #RunWithRivs! Pick a day, or a few, between August 1st and 9th and take on a challenge of your choosing. Run, ride, hike, walk, etc. for as many miles as you wish to raise money for the family of Tommy Rivers Puzey as he battles Primary Pulmonary NK T-Cell Lymphoma. Your challenge is totally up to you. It can be as epic as a century ride or as simple as a walk around the block. Rivers, a friend to so many across the globe, is a cyclist, a marathoner, a mountain runner, a trail runner, a triathlete, and an ultra runner. He’s also a father, a husband, a son, and a brother. Let's do this! Get out there and pour your heart into an effort, whatever it might be. Let's lift up Rivers and his family by doing what Rivers does best! Cover ground, breathe, and share your journey! Follow @runwithrivs for details on how to register. #RunWithRivs #RideWithRivs #HikeWithRivs #TriWithRivs
Rivers Puzey first started to feel sick earlier in the summer. Thinking it could have been COVID-19, he self-isolated at home, but as the weeks passed and his situation failed to improve, he went to the hospital. He stayed there for several weeks, although doctors didn’t give him a diagnosis for some time. On July 24, his brother posted on Instagram to announce that Rivers Puzey had finally been diagnosed, and it was cancer.
“This isn’t going to be a two-week stint in the hospital like he thought it might be,” Jacob said in the Instagram video. “This is going to be a long treatment.” He went on to say Rivers Puzey’s wife, Steph, and their three daughters need help. “Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
The goal of the Run with Rivs challenge is “to allow his family to focus their energy on helping him heal, not be consumed with mounting medical costs. Lift them up by doing what Rivers does best—cover ground, breathe, involve friends and family and share the journey.” Participants are encouraged to “choose any activity that allows you to cover ground under your own power,” whether that’s running, cycling, kayaking or doing any other physical activity.
“Smile, push the pace, cover the miles, cry if you have to,” the challenge website says. “Just get the work done.”
In addition to the Run with Rivs challenge, there is a GoFundMe page dedicated to raising money for his family and their medical bills. So far, more than $420,000 has been donated to that fundraiser. To donate, click here, and to contribute to and participate in the Run with Rivs challenge, visit the event website.