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Sacred Heart University Fields Team for 10th Annual CT Challenge

The cycling team will be riding in honor of Christopher Cook, the son of Sacred Heart’s executive director of athletics, emeritus, who succumbed to cancer this spring.


From Sacred Heart University.

Sacred Heart University is participating in the 10th annual CT Challenge Bike Ride on July 26, with The Pioneers riding as TEAM SHU in memory of Christopher Cook, son of C. Donald Cook, Sacred Heart’s executive director of athletics, emeritus. 

Christopher passed away at the age of 48 on April 14, after a battle with cancer. He was Vice President & General Manager of Indirect Equipment Finance at Hitachi Capital America Corp. 

Christopher was an avid and talented photographer, capturing memories and scenes of his family and friends, as well as his many travels. He also excelled in sports, having played baseball at Fairfield University, ranking among the Stags’ batting leaders, with a .320 career batting average. His athleticism and passion for the game continued, playing first base with the New Canaan Cannons Senior Baseball League until 2012. 

“I know I’m speaking for the entire Cook family, most especially Christopher’s wife Camilla, and his mother, Donna, in saying we are honored and thrilled that Sacred Heart will dedicate its participation in the CT Challenge Bike Ride in July to honor my son,” said Cook. “Christopher often talked to me about how fortunate he was to find such special people at the Center who cared. Chris had only fond memories of respect and gratitude for Jeff Keith and his staff, most especially Lee Crouch. As his father, I’ll be forever grateful for the genuine love and support the Center offered to Chris, myself and our family.” 

Tiana Williams, who joined the Sacred Heart staff in April 2014 as the Director of Promotions, Gameday Operations and Event Management, is the captain of TEAM SHU. 

“In the short time I’ve been working at SHU I have learned that several of my colleagues are cancer survivors,” said Williams. “Coupled with my own grandmother’s cancer battle, I am inspired by the work done by CT Challenge and am honored to lead TEAM SHU in this worthy cause.  I look forward to this wonderful event and the participation and support of the Sacred Heart community.” 

The ride is the major fundraising event for the CT Challenge, and the vehicle that supports its mission to empower cancer survivors to live healthier, happier and longer lives by creating and funding unique survivorship programs and research. TEAM SHU aims to have 75 riders, both virtual and physical, sign up for the event and raise a total of $10,000. Riders of all ages and abilities have the option to ride 10, 25, 50, 75 or 100 miles. 

Along with Williams, the first member of TEAM SHU to sign up for the CT Challenge Bike Ride was the Pioneers’ Executive Director of Athletics, Bobby Valentine. Valentine, a spokesperson for CT Challenge, is taking part in the ride for the second time. 

“What the CT Challenge is doing for cancer survivors is very cutting edge,” said Valentine, who is the honorary chair of the 10th Annual CT Challenge Bike Ride. “The CT Challenge is about hope. It’s about putting all the benefits of a healthy lifestyle to work to help survivors win back their lives from cancer and it’s about providing the effective tools needed to do it. Plus, it’s right in our backyard, a Connecticut innovation our community is proud to support,” continued Valentine. 

For more information on CT Challenge and its mission to support cancer survivors, visit their website at http://ctchallenge.org/

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