Anabelle Ciampi is 10, and in August, she completed her second junior triathlon — a race comprising a 100-meter swim, 2-mile bike ride and a 1.3-mile run.
Anabelle, a fifth grader at Parkway Elementary School, is an avid swimmer, and is as athletic they come. But she doesn’t do the triathlons for exercise. Rather, she does it for her uncle, Brian Ciampi, who lost his battle with colon cancer last February at the age of 39.
Competing in the Deep Pond Triathlon on Aug. 18. in Wading River, in Suffolk County, Anabelle raised more than $1,700 for the Brian S. Ciampi Scholarship at Lynbrook High School — Brian’s alma mater — distributed annually to a graduating student athlete.
Brian, a Lynbrook native who worked for the New Hyde Park Department of Works, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer in April 2011.
Anabelle’s inspiration to compete in a triathlon in Brian’s memory came last year when she was watching television with her father Mike and mother Adrienne. The family saw a story on television about a girl who did a similar event to raise money for a relative. “She told my wife, I want to do that for uncle Brian,” Michael said.
After some research, Adrienne and Michael discovered the Wading River race, which is held on a scenic 400-acre wilderness retreat on the John M. Schiff Scout Reservation. The annual event comprises three triathlons — a sprint triathlon, senior youth triathlon and junior youth triathlon.
Last year, Anabelle did the triathlon to raise money for Brian’s medical expenses. She coined her efforts, “Tri-ing for Uncle Brian,” and with the help of Facebook, word quickly spread to friends and community members. She raised $3,000.
Michael said he was full of nothing but pride for his daughter, who conducted the grueling race out of love for her uncle. “She’s a very selfless young lady,” he said.
After Brian’s death on Feb. 22, friends and family started the scholarship fund in his memory. “He was a good man,” Michael said of his brother. “A generous man. He always gave to so many people.”