…In the war against cancer
In recent weeks I have met a few amazing people who are now key foot soldiers in the war against cancers. A couple of weeks ago I spoke of Ethan Zohn who is a professional soccer player, multi sport athlete, and winner of the TV show SURVIVOR – Africa. Ethan is undergoing treatment right now for his recently diagnosed lymphoma and is doing well. He is weak, and tired. But his will is bigger than it has ever been and he is committed to kicking his disease in the butt and moving on with his life. That life also includes running a charitable organization called Grassroot Soccer which raises funds for AIDS awareness and education in Africa. I hope to join Ethan this November where we will race the New York Marathon while raising funds for his charity. Ethan’s site is here – www.ezohn.com
Next there was a young woman named Caroline Cranston. Carolyn came to me through a college friend who is neighbors with Caroline’s family. My college buddy reached out to me explaining that Caroline, a former college lacrosse star, was just diagnosed and could use a friend who understands the process and who could help her build her support team. (As a side note – I totally love when I get these types of requests. I feel that have the opportunity to connect with folks who have been diagnosed has become part of my personal crusade). So, Caroline and I exchanged a few emails and we got to know each other a little bit. She just underwent a BMT (bone marrow transplant) last week and has rounded the corner and is on the mend. Ironically, Caroline’s sister Lauren was racing the Philadelphia Triathlon where I was working all weekend. She made it a point to come up and introduce herself to me, along with her husband and their parents. They are great people. And it is obvious that Caroline has some good teammates in her corner. I am making some arrangements to go to their home and meet Caroline in the coming weeks. A Caring Page has also been set up for her if you would like to follow her progress – http://www.carepages.com/carepages/CarolineGallagherCranston
And then there is Curtis Bronson..aka Curt ….. aka miracle man …..aka … one hell of a great guy. I met Curtis this past weekend at a Team in Training Inspirational dinner where he spoke prior to the Philadelphia Insurance Triathlon. 13 years ago Curtis was experiencing flu like symptoms which a few doctors just brushed off prescribing one antibiotic and blood test after another. Then eventually he received a phone call from his doctor instructing him to get to the hospital right away – without even packing a bag were the doctor’s instructions. He was told that the hospital staff was ready and waiting with an available bed. Shortly upon his arrival, Curtis was told that he had cancer which had completely taken over his entire body. Then he was told that he had 48 hours to live – at best. The next day, his docs presented him with a lottery ticket. A new clinical trial had just been made available that had a remote possibility of saving Curt’s life even if temporarily. Wasting no time in choosing between a roll of the dice, and an automatic death sentence, Curt agreed to the trial. The next few years were quite rocky and included a bone marrow transplant, graft versus host disease, two knee replacements, and countless other issues. But, the various treatments ultimately took hold and saved Curt’s life. Today Curt is married with twin boys. He also just completed the Lake Tahoe century bike ride with Team In Training, wanting to give back to an organization that played a big part in saving his life. Next year Curt hopes to complete a marathon with TNT and in 2011 we already hooked him into doing the Philly Triathlon. I spent several hours with Curt this past weekend and I think I laughed 90% of the time we were together. He is one guy who is passionate about life and everyone in it.
These three individuals will be huge assets to the team of people doing their thing and using their tools everyday to make a difference in the lives of others. And I am proud to call them friends.