The Rider

June 18, 2010

In Honor of Gerard

Filed under: Rider Profiles — The Blog @ 5:54 AM

It was late February 2009 – and Brigid Tracy knew it was only a matter of time before her brother, Gerard, would lose his short, but brave battle with cancer.

“We never gave up hope until the very end, when we had to call hospice,” said Brigid, an executive assistant at Nationwide.

Her brother, she said, was the family comedian, loud and boisterous and not afraid to tell it like it was, even if the person he was telling it to didn’t want to hear it. At times this caused some tension between the two.

The Tracy family, top row, L to R, Michael, Kevin, Brigid and Sean, bottom row, L to R, Gerard, Mary, Gerard and Amiee

Gerard’s cancer brought the already close family even closer, as they banded together in support of their loved one.

“He would have to have these 2-week rounds of severe chemo and had to be hospitalized for it,” Brigid said. “We (her parents and three other siblings) all took turns staying with him at night at The James so he was never alone.”

This, she said, gave her a chance to get to know her brother better, mend some fences – and learn how truly strong and brave Gerard was.

“I was there one night and he was lying there and said, ‘Thank God it’s me and none of you guys going through this, because I don’t think I could sit and watch this happen to any of you.’”

At about the same time, Brigid received an email asking her to join Nationwide’s Pelotonia committee. She was very involved in the company’s numerous charitable events and committees and was known as someone who could organize people and get things done.

“The day of the first meeting was Gerard’s funeral,” Brigid said, adding she obviously couldn’t attend the meeting – but soon after threw herself into Nationwide’s Pelotonia commitment.

“It’s rare that something good can come out of something so terrible so quickly,” she said of her involvement in the ride and the way friends and neighbors rallied together to help her family during her brother’s 8-month battle.

The five Tracy siblings, L to R, Michael, Gerard, Kevin (in the back), Brigid and Sean

“Riding (in the first Pelotonia) was the most worthwhile experience I’ve ever had by far,” Brigid said. “Sometimes, when you’re involved with charities you write a check and don’t think anything of it. This one, all these people came together and it was so amazing and you know that every penny you raise goes to cancer research at The James, where they took such great care of Gerard and allowed the end to be filled with dignity. I’d do anything to support The James.”

Brigid was born in Columbus, but her family – her parents Gerard and Mary, and the five children, Gerard, Sean, Brigid, Kevin and Michael – moved to New York and then back to Columbus when she was 10.

She graduated from Ohio University and started part-time at Nationwide. This evolved into a fulltime job with the insurance giant. She is also a massage therapist.

Co-worker Maren Bauerle initially got Brigid into cycling – and this year Maren will ride Pelotonia for the first time. “Everyone here at Nationwide has been so supportive and Mark Hiltz (a vice president) is the one responsible for us getting involved,” Brigid said. “He’s so passionate about Pelotonia.”

Watching what her brother went through has had a lasting impact on Brigid.

“We are all closer than ever,” she said of her family. “It’s amazing how the little things remind us of Gerard and the holidays are tough, especially that first year. I guess the lesson is that time is precious and you shouldn’t really wait to tell people how you feel about them.”

Here's the Nationwide peloton from the first Pelotonia ride. Brigid is second from the L on the bottom row

While Brigid is the only member of her family riding in Pelotonia, her parents and siblings are behind her.

“They’ve been so supportive in terms of spreading the word about Pelotonia and with my fund raising,” she said.

The entire family is hosting a fund raising party in honor of Gerard.

“We’re going to send an E-vite to everyone we know and ask for $10 to come and enjoy some burgers and beer. We’ll have a bucket with Gerard’s picture on it and everyone can put in their $10.”

10 Things About Brigid…

Favorite ride


Dream ride


Current bike

A Specialized Dolce

Dream bike

A full-carbon bike, when I win the lottery

Favorite movie

The Sound of Music

Favorite TV show

Modern Family

Favorite book

Little Women

Favorite musician/group


Favorite athlete

Derek Jeter

Favorite post-ride meal

Pizza and beer



  1. […] Brigid Tracy and her family are hosting a party to raise money. E-vites have been sent to 100 of their closest friends and attendees will be asked to contribute money in memory of Gerard Tracy. […]

    Pingback by How We Raise Money For Pelotonia « The Rider — June 22, 2010 @ 6:18 AM

  2. Brigid,

    I saw the write up on Pelotonia on the Inside page at Nationwide. I am a fellow Nationwider and cyclist, but live in the Atlanta area. I’d love to be able donate to your cause. Here in Atlanta I’m part of a cycling team that does charity rides for the Multiple Sclerosis Society (our team captain was diagnosed with MS 5 years ago) so I know what it’s like to involve yourself in a cause that’s so personal. I provided my work email above, but can give you my regular email in case there’s any information you can throw my way. I would love to help in any way possible. It’s good to see people like you and Nationwide stepping up and getting involved.

    Take care, and I hope to hear from you soon.

    Troy Pensa (

    Comment by Troy Pensa — July 15, 2010 @ 2:33 PM

  3. Pls tell me how I can get a Nationwide cycling shirt? There are a number of us here in Raleigh NC who would like to start riding and we would like to wear Nationwides company logo when we are out on the road. Thank you and good luck!

    Comment by Richard Allen — July 15, 2010 @ 3:47 PM

  4. Hey Brigid!
    So sorry to hear about your brother. I don’t think I could ride 10 miles on a bike, let alone 100! However, I would love to support you in this great event. Let me know the best way to do that!!

    Comment by Pam McWilliams-Hauser — July 15, 2010 @ 4:04 PM

  5. Ms. Brigid,

    You are a remarkable young woman. I want to support your fundraiser. May I send you a
    personal check, I am located in the SACC in Texas. This is a heartfelt story, you have
    a wonderful/awesome family. Good luck on you 100 mile ride.

    Comment by Gini (Virginia) Garcia — July 17, 2010 @ 11:16 AM

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