Dare2tri Board & Volunteer Profile: Ray Chay

Get to know Ray Chay, a longtime dare2tri volunteer and board member. Ray began as a volunteer and became an influential board member who has helped dare2tri grow from a start-up, non-profit serving a handful of athletes to an organization serving over 230.

1. What’s your story?

I work in Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A) in the Private Equity / Venture Capital industry, and I have a passion for growing companies. Strategy, Finance, Operations, and Analytics run through my veins. I am a start-up enthusiast, husband, and former Ironman. I was born in Singapore, and just like the rest of my family, have trouble staying in one spot. 

2. What is your specific involvement with dare2tri?

I started as a general volunteer, then helped guide athletes through dare2tri triathlons, and was asked to serve on the Board in December 2012. I was the Finance Chair and Strategy & Operations co-chair from 2012 to 2014. It's easy to forget who you are serving when you spend most of your time on the Board, so I try my best to attend general programs and events to remind myself of the great cause I am involved in. 

3. How long have you been involved with dare2tri?

I have been involved since the first public meeting at Running Away Multisport in early 2011. I sat far away from the main couch and remember thinking, "Wow, who are all these people?! They inspire ME to do a triathlon."

4. Why did you get involved with dare2tri?

My second triathlon ever was the Scheels High Cliff sprint in Sherwood, WI. When I racked my bike in transition I noticed a tall man who left his tandem bike a couple of aisles away from me. At the time I thought to myself, what a cheat! During the swim start I saw him and another older man entering the water and they were tethered to each other by some sort of rope. I thought nothing of it as I calmed my nerves -- the water was cold. I forgot about them until I was climbing a hill on the bike and all of a sudden they blew by me like a rocket. Still angry, I caught up to them on the run. I saw them still tethered, but the tall man was now telling the older man, "Rock on your left", "Watch your feet, going uphill." I then realized the older man was blind.

I spent the last mile running emotionally into the finish thinking, surely there must be something bigger than just completing triathlons. With dare2tri, I had found my cause.

5. Is there a specific moment while with dare2tri that sticks out in your mind? If so, what is it?

The first athlete I guided was a man who had a stroke and had lost function of one entire side of his body. In the water, he taught me about perseverance as he dog-paddled with just one arm and one leg, to the turnaround point and back. On the bike, I felt his vulnerability as he had no grip capability with the paralyzed hand and single-leg cycled each loop. He took one tumble because a car surprised him, but dusted himself and got back up. On the run, we walked, but he showed me there is more than one way to the finish line with your head held up high.

6. What would you like others to know about dare2tri?

The disabled can be an invisible community, both by personal choice and societal design. The human body comes in different shapes, sizes, and abilities but it is what you do with it that matters. Dare2tri is more than just a non-profit. It is a partner for the disabled, a means to access different opportunities, and for some, a truly life-changing experience. We transform lives.

7. What does dare2tri mean to you?

We have a very involved Board that runs dare2tri, and growing a start-up non-profit is never easy. The challenges are very real. Conquering those challenges one day at a time with a team of passionate individuals encourages me that truly anything is possible.

8. Is there anything else you would like to share?

Dare2tri wouldn't be where it is today without its athletes, founders, coaches, bastions, volunteers, funders, and countless selfless people who work quietly behind the scenes. No matter where or who you are, if this blog speaks to you -- take that next step, whatever it may be.