Professional Bowlers Association (PBA) Rookie of the Year Rhino Page has quite the impressive athletic resume. He’s broken the PBA’s seven-game scoring record; won gold medals for Team USA in the Pan-Am Games; become only the second bowler to win a title after advancing through a TQR; and titled in nearly every year of his bowling career.
But perhaps one of the most important tournaments of his life came back in 2009 at a Pro-Am.
For the event Rhino was paired with one of his biggest fans, 15-year-old Tyler, and his brother. Tyler was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease when he was just nine years old. According to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation, Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory condition of the gastrointestinal tract and may affect as many as 700,000 Americans, with more prevalence among adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 35. As a result of his disease, Tyler had already endured three surgeries and regular IV treatments before he was even officially diagnosed.
Touched by Tyler’s incredible story and upbeat personality, Rhino offered him his personal email in case the teen ever wanted or needed to talk. Soon after, following another difficult IV procedure, Tyler started communicating regularly with Rhino and the duo soon became friends. As a result, Rhino recently took part in the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America Team Challenge Jamestown Half-Marathon.
“It has been a really special relationship, and one I’m really happy to be a part of,” says Rhino. “Tyler’s day to day struggles with Crohn’s Disease and his constant fight to not give in to the disease…well, he really inspires me. I feel really excited that I have the opportunity, as a professional bowler, to make a difference.”
The Team Challenge participants also have the opportunity to run the Napa-to-Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 20, 2014. Participants will join CCFA in their goal to raise more than $160,000 to support research for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and work towards finding a cure.
We got the chance to catch up with Rhino and learn a little more about what it takes to be a king pin at the lanes and in the community.
Name: Rhino Page
Occupation: Professional Bowler
Twitter Handle: @rhinopage300
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/rhinofanpage
What are three words that best describe you? Funny, Passionate and Loyal
What does it mean to be a Professional Bowler? I am a PBA National Tour player. I compete against the top bowlers nationally and internationally. I am also a staff player with Next Level Bowling where I do clinics and teach the sport of bowling all across the country.
What is your role, where are you based and what do you inspires you most about your work? I am currently based in Dade City, Fla., and my role is very simple; to be the best player in the world. Obviously winning tournaments is an amazing thing, but what inspires me the most about what I do is I have the opportunity to meet a lot of great people and give back to the sport. There were many people that have helped me get to where I am at, and paying it forward is something that greatly inspires me and is something I very much enjoy.
Was there anything in your past that pointed you in the direction you’ve taken? I started bowling when I was 4 years old and I fell in love. The idea that I could throw a ball as hard as I could at a bunch of objects (pins) and not get in trouble by my parents was the greatest thing ever to me. I knew I wanted to be a professional ever since then and I never lost sight of it.
What experience in your career are you most proud of? I would have to say my proudest moments come from the 7 years I spent on Team USA. During that time we won three World Championships in Team Event and those times are by far the most memorable for me. There is nothing greater than representing your country internationally and being on the gold medal stand hearing the national anthem.
Why is giving back is important to you? Giving back is important to me because there are many others in our world that haven’t been blessed with good health like I have. When I first met Tyler Cacioppo he was one of my biggest fans. When I heard he suffered with a severe case of Crohn’s Disease, I wanted to do anything and everything I could for him and anyone else that suffers as he does.
How has giving back helped you? Giving back is something that has really changed my life. For many years, I took for granted my health and my life. Giving back has allowed me to meet people like Tyler who have truly not only changed me as a person, but have inspired me greatly. When I struggle with anything in life, I always remember Tyler saying,” its ok homie be strong, be courageous, you can do this!” Those few words are what describe him as he has to be that way every single day as he battles Crohn’s Disease. They are very much driving forces for me in my life.
How do you incorporate giving back into your life? I try to incorporate giving back in my life every day. Whether it’s being there for Tyler, coaching young players in the sport of bowling, or through any other opportunities that come about that I can be there for someone. I feel that I have been blessed to do what I get to do for a living and giving back to others and blessing them is the greatest opportunity ever.
Which charities are near and dear to you and why? The Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America is my official charity that I support. It all started my first year on the PBA Tour when I was bowling a pro-am in Long Island, NY. Tyler bowled with me my last game of the day. Little did I know that was the start of a great relationship. I have seen the daily struggles that he deals with first hand, and I want to do anything and everything I can to help find a cure not only for him but for all who struggle like him.
When it comes to your own philanthropic efforts, what do you look back and feel made the largest impact on those that you set out to help? I would like to believe my biggest impacts have come from giving back to the sport of bowling. I have gotten the opportunity to give back to many young players as well as people I have met through my various travels. I just hope that it has made some kind of a difference in all of their lives.
What are some must-attend charity events for you? Definitely my event; Rhino Page and Friends Lace Up To Strike Out Crohn’s and Colitis. We hold the event annually in Long Island, N.Y., and it is always something I greatly look forward to. I also have done a few events locally. One is bowling for Rhino’s and the other is for breast cancer.
Now for the lightning round of questions.
What is your favorite beauty product? Ummm I don’t think I have one.
How would you describe your home décor? A bachelor pad.
What is your secret for hosting a great party? Having a bunch of friends over to share some laughs over a few drinks. Can’t go wrong there!
Favorite food: Hard to narrow down…spaghetti, Mexican, sushi…yes, all of the above!
Favorite cocktail: Pretty much any type of beer!
Favorite restaurant: I’m going to have to go with my hometown favorite restaurant Tio Leos in San Diego. To this day I always look forward to going back and having a meal with my family.
If you could host a dinner party for 8, who would you invite living or dead? As much as I use to write about having dinner with my hero’s, I have to go with my family, friends and any combo for the 8. I can never get enough of spending time with them!
Favorite vacation spot: Kona, Hawaii is the place for me!
Do you have any tips for parents? As I am not a parent it is really hard to give actual advice. All I can say is my parents believed in me and allowed me to chase my dreams and it is a big reason why I am where I am. There is something about the belief in your child that frees them and allows them to achieve their dreams.
Favorite TV show: 24, Burn Notice, Black List, etc. Anything that is intense like that.
Favorite movie: Pay it Forward. It’s pretty much the story of my life.
Favorite song: Metallica- Creeping Death
Favorite apps: Weather Channel, Quake Feed, Live ATC….ya I’m kind of a nerd.
Favorite workout: Anything that doesn’t make me too sore the next day!
Please click here to contribute to Rhino’s Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation half marathon fundraising efforts. To learn more about the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation of America Team Challenge, visit www.ccteamchallenge.org.