A brother’s tough love inspired overweight Westerville man into shape

Patrick Dahn

Patrick Dahn ran, biked and swam 70 miles in a day to honor the brother who liked him sufficient to name him a fatso.

“About 5 – 6 years in the past he known as me fats,” Dahn stated, recalling the phrases of his brother, Billy, one in all 5 Dahn boys who excelled in sports activities whereas rising up attending Whetstone and Centennial excessive colleges. “He was proper. I used to be fats.”

As in 295 kilos of beer, pizza and extra beer.

“I’m 205 now,” stated Patrick, at 50 the youngest of the siblings. “It helps once you’re not consuming 24 beers a day and consuming pizza. Carbs are usually not your buddy.”

On the floor it’d seem Billy was no buddy, both. Getting in Patrick’s face and calling him fats just isn’t the Norman Rockwell depiction of friendship. However on this case the one who offered powerful love turned out to be the very best buddy of all.

To battle weight problems and alcoholism, Patrick stated he wanted the help of “my spouse (Amy) and the “The Man Upstairs,” but additionally a kick within the pants from Billy.

Billy Dahn

“All 5 of us brothers had been shut, so far as boys might be shut, however Billy and I had been the tightest,” Patrick Dahn stated. “He saved my life just a few occasions. I used to be a large number (in 2005) and he flew in from Seattle once I was attempting to get out of a rehab middle and he wouldn’t let me depart. He stated to me, ‘What are you doing, you fool?’ And I might run away like just a little child.”

Now Patrick is operating for his brother, not from him. He organized a half Iron Man triathlon final week close to his house in Westerville to have fun the go-for-broke lifetime of Billy, who died on Sept. 25, 2018, seven days after being recognized with a mind tumor. He was 53.

Initially, Patrick Dahn deliberate to take part in a full Iron Man race in August close to Grand Rapids, Michigan, as a option to “end” the seventh Iron Man that Billy by no means accomplished due to the most cancers.

“I by no means wished to do an Iron Man. It wasn’t my factor, it was his factor,” Patrick stated. “I advised him, ‘I’ll do that with you Billy once you get higher,’ and sadly he didn’t get higher.”

COVID-19 compelled cancellation of the Grand Rapids race, and Dahn moved to Plan B: staging his personal triathlon close to Alum Creek Reservoir. However the coronavirus canceled that, too. Dahn examined optimistic for COVID-19 on July 8, which led to Plan C: slicing the Iron Man distances — 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike experience and 26.2-mile marathon — in half and utilizing Fb to ask others to hitch.

Greater than 100 family and friends members from throughout the nation signed on to swim, bike and run as many miles as doable in their very own places. They mixed for a complete of 1,381 miles. Dahn plans to carry the “on-line” triathlon — not a fundraiser — once more subsequent 12 months to honor Billy’s life

And what a life. Billy was the center Dahn, surrounded by two brothers on both sides. All had been wonderful athletes. Wealthy performed baseball at Ohio State, Chuck performed basketball at Miami College and Rob performed basketball at Urbana College.

Patrick excelled at Centennial, however Billy was the very best of the bunch. No less than that’s what he appreciated to say. Billy didn’t lack from confidence. Or braveness.

“His nickname was Psycho, not as a result of he was loopy however he was simply all the time on the sting, and his ache tolerance was unbelievable,” Dahn stated, explaining how his brother had a number of surgical procedures and shut calls. The scariest occurred when Billy was hit by a motor house whereas he was biking throughout an Iron Man triathlon in Idaho. Regardless of cracking ribs and struggling a concussion that put him within the hospital in a single day, he returned the following day to complete the biking portion.

His excessive ache threshold additionally proved unlucky. Dahn estimates his brother had skilled complications for about six months with out telling anybody. Then in the future he handed out at house whereas portray and shortly after was recognized with glioblastoma (GBM), a uncommon most cancers that additionally claimed the lifetime of Sen. John McCain. Surgical procedure eliminated virtually 85% of the tumor, however he suffered bleeding on the mind and per week later was taken off life help.

Two years later, the ache of shedding a larger-than-life brother, father to 3 women (Megan, Olivia and Heidi) and husband (to Eileen) stays, however by way of tragedy the prolonged households have grow to be extraordinarily shut.

“One of many issues Invoice all the time wished was to convey the household collectively, and the truth is his passing did that,” Patrick Dahn stated. “The brothers used to get collectively only for the Dahn Open (an annual household golf match held since 1975), however now we’re getting collectively extra. We need to dwell the way in which he lived. Billy wouldn’t be pleased in the event you had been sitting round crying in your Wheaties.”

Or in your beer. That’s not a problem for Patrick, who has been sober since 2013. Typically it takes brotherly shove to get again in your ft.

curler@dispatch.com

@rollerCD

The four surviving Dahn brothers -- from left, Chuck, Rich, Rob and Patrick, with a spot in the middle saved for Billy, who died in 2018.