News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Local & Bistate

November 9, 2012

Drop and give me 55,000

Terre Haute native raising funds for fight against cancer

TERRE HAUTE — A Terre Haute native on a mission to do 55,000 pushups is quickly approaching his arm-flexing goal as a tribute to his late father-in-law and as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

Bob Montgomery has fewer than 5,000 pushups remaining before his Dec. 1 deadline, which is the one-year anniversary of the death of his father-inlaw. But he has thousands of dollars to go to reach his fundraising goal of $1 million for ACS.

Montgomery explains his quest this way:

“My father-in-law, Gene Rundquist, passed away on Dec. 1, 2011, after having been diagnosed on Sept. 30 with stage 4 lung cancer. He was initially given 9 to 12 months to live, but died 2 months and 1 day later.

“In his honor, I am doing 55,000 pushups over the course of the year 2012, with the intention of raising $1,000,000 for the American Cancer Society. Fifty-five thousand is my goal because I turned 55 this year and it just seemed like a worthy challenge.”

Montgomery, who has lived in Georgia in the Atlanta area since 1994, is a 1975 graduate of Terre Haute North Vigo High School. He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Indiana State University, and is now a training and technical documentation specialist. His first job was as a newspaper carrier, delivering the Terre Haute Star in the mornings from 1969 to 1975 during junior high and high school.

He already has a large group of people following his progress through his online blog site – 55kpushups.blogspot.com – but the donations so far have amounted to only $500.

“It will only take 40,000 people worldwide donating $25 apiece to reach $1 million,” Montgomery wrote in an email to the Tribune-Star. “I am confident that we can reach this goal, but I need to get the word out to more people.”

On his blog, Montgomery explains his reason for the fundraiser and keeps a daily log of his progress. On Nov. 1, he passed 50,000 pushups — a significant milestone.

“There is no doubt in my mind that I will complete my goal of 55,000 pushups before the end of the year. In fact, I’m shooting for reaching 55,000 on Dec. 1, the anniversary of Gene’s death. The pushups are coming along fine, but I need help on the fundraising aspect,” Montgomery said.

During a telephone interview Thursday, Montgomery said he started to become discouraged about the slow fundraising until a co-worker, who is director of wellness, gave him the wise counsel that raising awareness of cancer and research was worth the effort of the 55,000 pushups.

Montgomery said he has also been well-received when he speaks to groups about the project, and he gets several hits on his blog every day from all over the United States, as well as from Germany, England and India.

Each week his goal is 1,100 pushups. He has exceeded that pace many times. And he offers innovative ways to do 200 pushups per day, such as alternating exercises.

Another benefit that Montgomery has realized is that he’s inspiring others to do pushups and exercise to improve their own wellness.

Anyone wanting to check out Montgomery’s progress, and to donate to the American Cancer Society, can go online to 55kpushups.blogspot.com.

Reporter Lisa Trigg can be reached at 812-231-4254 or lisa.trigg@tribstar.com.

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