Briarcliff man treks to Antarctica for marathon to honor late wife

A Briarcliff man is in Antarctica to take on one of the toughest marathons in the world, and he’s doing it to complete a journey

A Briarcliff man is in Antarctica to take on one of the toughest marathons in the world, and he's doing it to complete a journey his late wife started years ago.

A Briarcliff man is in Antarctica to take on one of the toughest marathons in the world, and he's doing it to complete a journey his late wife started years ago. (3/9/17)

CROTON - A Briarcliff man is in Antarctica to take on one of the toughest marathons in the world, and he’s doing it to complete a journey his late wife started years ago.

Dave Ventresca’s late wife My Luu battled adversity starting at a young age. At 5, her family was fleeing war-torn Vietnam when they were ambushed by pirates and forced to call a Malaysian refugee camp home. It was over a year before the family could move to America, reuniting with loved ones in Texas.

Luu, who spoke four languages and earned a brown belt in karate, summited Mount Kilimanjaro and traveled the world – but she waited almost her whole life for love. She found it in New York City, with Ventresca, as Luu was overcoming a rare type of blood cancer called amyloidosis. Not only was she on the road to recovery, she was also running marathons. Her goal was to join the 7 Continents Club – a small group of people who have run marathons on every continent.

“She actually beat breast cancer when she was in her mid-30s,” says Ventresca. “I think it was after that scare that she set this goal for herself.”

After returning from Asia and her sixth marathon, Luu’s cancer was back. She died seven weeks after marrying Ventresca. As a heartbroken Ventresca tried to cope with his loss, Luu’s brother had an idea.

“He came to me and said 'I’m thinking about running Antarctica to complete My's mission,' and I said, ‘funny, I was thinking the same thing,’” says Ventresca, who had been already planning to run with My.

Sang Luu is an experienced marathoner who is ready to help push Ventresca to the finish line Saturday in what will be his first marathon.

“He’ll do fine,” says Sang Luu. “Honest, I’m amazed. Most people do their first marathon somewhere local, but to have his first marathon in Antarctica? Hopefully it won’t be his last either.”

One of the spots Ventresca has been training at is Croton Point Park. He carries an old shoelace from one of his wife’s running shoes with him for added inspiration on longer runs.

“Typically when the snow comes I reach for the hot cocoa, now I'm reaching for my running shoes, I go outside and run in the snow,” says Ventresca.

He looks to the adversity his wife battled for inspiration.

“I think about what she went through, because this is my first and she did eight. And, you know, she did two of them after a bone marrow transplant, so she persevered quite a bit. So if she can do that, I should be able to do this,” he says. “You just try to soldier on. I think I owe it to her and her legacy and also to me, to figure out the right path forward.”

Ventresca and Sang Luu are in Antarctica now. Not only will their run complete My’s mission, it will also help raise money for a group called Y-Apply. The organization helps high-achieving public school students get into college.

 

My Luu Fund: https://www.crowdrise.com/myluufund

More on this topic

Antarctica Marathon

The My Luu Memorial Fund Y-Apply

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Trending Video

1 VIDEO: Monroe-Woodbury SD eliminates ice hockey program
Kristina's Korner tracks the 2 Trending: Eagles, Fleetwood Mac to rock Citi Field
VIDEO: Mount Vernon woman sentenced in daughter's killing 3 VIDEO: Mount Vernon woman sentenced in daughter's killing
Kristina's Korner tracks the 4 Trending: "No First Pitch for Trump"
Police say they got calls about a riot 5 3 arrested in riot Children's Village

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE