DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. - A former athlete and fit-to-fight U.S. Marine, Dobbs Ferry realtor Michael Gibbons grew to an unhealthy 430 pounds before he looked at his children and decided to change his life - and the scales - for them.
Gibbons has lost more than 250 pounds over the last several years with his "Take Shape For Life" fitness and diet program, which he now teaches others. He has also taken on "Team For Kids" as his pet project, helping to raise awareness and funds to help fight childhood obesity by running marathons.
Gibbon's next challenge is the 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon set for Oct. 13.
"My quest is to help get America moving and 'Team For Kids' helps me do that," said Gibbons, who has run several marathons, including Yonkers and the New York City 26.2-milers. "I have kept the weight off now for four years and the only way I know how to keep it off is by helping others.
"Team for Kids" is a team of volunteers who raise funds for critical services provided by New York Road Runners Youth Programs. These programs combat childhood obesity and empower youth development via running and character-building programs in low-income schools and community centers in New York City, throughout the country and Africa.
Gibbons said donations can help prevent overweight or obese children from suffering heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and other chronic illnesses that lead to health-care costs in excess of $100 billion annually.
"Whether you are a runner, have worked with children, or have kids yourself, I hope you will join me to further this great cause," Gibbons said. "I am trying to do my small part to make this a better world to live in. I am on my quest to do 25 marathons by the age of 50. So far, so good. I appreciate all the encouragement from friends and family. I am truly blessed."
The fundraising effort was recently given a big push when Al and Patti Straub, owners of Spincredible, a spinning center in Ardsley, sponsored a fundraiser. Gibbons said his goal of $1,500 is within reach.
"Big Al Straub gave me a big boost and raised around $900 for the cause," Gibbons said. "I really want to thank Al and Patty and everyone who gave donations for their support."
To make a donation, log on to Gibbons' "Team For Kids" page and the click on the Donate button. You can also find information there about where to write a check, or how to get your company to match your gift. All contributions are tax-deductible.