Drinking Partners Podcast

Darren Miller and I recently sat down with Pittsburgh comedians Ed Bailey and Day Bracey of the Drinking Partners podcast to talk about philanthropy through endurance athletics while they “…shoot the brizzy, sample local craft beer and tear apart your Twitter.” Something you’ll have to listen to in order to understand. Rated M for Mature audiences.


“…how do two unicorns find each other in the forest?”

Listen to the entire Podcast here.

Shout out to Nick and Buzzy at Epicast Network for having us on the show!

Essential Pittsburgh

One day before heading up to Erie for the Sub-3² Challenge, Darren and I sat down with 90.5 WESA’s Essential Pittsburgh – an NPR affiliate – to discuss his new challenge and Out Living It. Ultimately, we raised nearly $3,000 for First Descents (support.firstdescents.org/channeledin) in honor of my 11-year old cousin Julia. She is currently battling Ewing’s Sarcoma.

Ultra-marathon success

bigbend50 successWhat started as a mere friendship, turned into something much more than either of us could have ever imagined. Following an over-use injury back in November, my love and partner in life, Darren Miller, offered to join me on the trail. Together, we conquered the 51.7 miles over grueling terrain and remote wilderness in just under 12 hours.

Find the full story here: https://www.darren-miller.com/whatever-it-takes-well-do-it-together/

Big Bend 50

Three years ago, I committed to swimming the English Channel in support of young adult cancer patients and survivors and in memory of my beloved NYU swim coach, Lauren Beam: a friend, a sister, a wife, and a mentor. Upon reaching the shores of France last summer, I knew that moment was the culmination of my battle with cancer and simultaneously the start of something incredible. I just did not know what exactly that “something” was.

In leaving the west coast for landlocked west Texas to fulfill an exciting work opportunity, it was not something that I thought would follow me here. This summer, however, cancer again struck a chord close to my heart. Caitlin Murray, one of the most admired and adored young people in Marfa, and whom I have the pleasure of working beside at the Judd Foundation, has been diagnosed with colon cancer at age 29.

At first, I wasn’t sure how to react to the news and let my emotions take over. There is no water in west Texas, true. But with land as wild and free as the Pacific, what do you do?


A 50-mile ultra-marathon through Big Bend Ranch State Park taking place on January 18th as part of the 2015 Big Bend 50 Event (http://www.bigbend50.com). Geographically remote with over 2,000 feet of rugged elevation gain, unpredictable weather patterns, and a wide variety of wildlife, it will undoubtedly be a challenge. But as I’ve said before, nothing equates to a battle with cancer.

I’ll be running for Caitlin and the rest of my peers who are presently battling for their lives against cancer – a place I know all too well. All funds raised through this journey will once again benefit First Descents (http://tfd.firstdescents.org/goto/bigbendalli).

One of my favorite things about being in west Texas is the culture’s natural inclination towards community in the fullest sense of the word. Whether it’s a 6-man football game at the local high school or a blessing of pets by the town’s pastor, everyone shows up.

That said, I’m also thrilled to announce:

  • Two friends have already committed to run the event’s no-less-daunting 30k, also for Caitlin and First Descents.
  • Working together with the race director and local high school coaches, the Big Bend 50 Event will soon include a relay category (5 x 10k). This way, it will allow for more people to be physically involved and in turn, garner more support for the cause.
  • Depending on the timeline of Caitlin’s treatment, we will be hosting a “Welcome Home” celebration in Marfa together with live music, great BBQ, and an auction to include local crafts and everything else the area is known for.

Over the course of the next few months, I’ll be posting updates here and to my other social media accounts. If you’re interested in how you can help, maybe even participating in the Big Bend 50 event, please contact me at allidefran at me.com.

Thank you!

Featured alumnus in NYU Magazine

NYU mag (low res).jpgWhen you go to a school with more than 40,000 students operating in the center of the Universe, such an opportunity is beyond one’s wildest dreams. It goes without saying how tremendously flattered and appreciative I am.

For the full story: http://www.nyu.edu/alumni.magazine/issue22/classnotes_2.html.

Vote for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Woman of the Year

PrintBeginning on March 4th, nominated candidates have 10 weeks to raise as much money as possible to promote research, find cures, and give support to patients with blood cancer. The candidate who raises the most money “wins.” The competition then ends on May 17th with a Grand Finale Gala at the Hilton Torrey Pines.

Donations are accepted online at http://www.mwoy.org/pages/sd/sd14/allid  or with a check made payable to LLS.

Today there are more than a million people living with or in remission from leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma. In spite of some improvements in treatment – due largely in part to the $875 million LLS has granted to researchers over the past 60+ years – someone in the U.S. dies from a blood cancer nearly every 10 minutes. In fact, leukemia is still the leading disease for childhood deaths and lymphoma is the leading fatal cancer of men under age 35.

While I would not be where I am today without your support of my English Channel swim, it’s really going to take the global community to cure blood cancer. I think we can.

Let’s make someday, today.

Interview on the Zephyr Radio

Last week, during my trip to Vail, Colorado, I had the pleasure of sitting down with the Weez on KZYR the Zephyr and chatting about my swim across the English Channel for First Descents.  Take a listen!