I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in June 2003. I was given a 40% chance of surviving the disease. I was inspired by Lance Armstrong to not lose hope and to fight the disease. In November 2003 I went into remission for 10 wonderful months. In October 2004 I was re-diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Three weeks later I was told I had both diseases (Hodgkin’s and Non-Hodgkin’s) and again told my chance for survival was less than 30%. Through all of this I never lost hope and strived to Live Strong as Mr. Armstrong would say. I had a Stem Cell Transplant on New Year’s Eve of 2004.
(images l-r: Stem Cell Transplant, Carrie & I at hospital, radiation treatment)
Even while I was in the hospital I was training for the 2005 Ride for the Roses. I walked up and down 8 floors of stairs everyday. I cannot stress how important the LiveStrong Foundation is to me. No one should have to live with this disease and by donating you are helping to find a cure, helping families cope, and helping survivors move on with their lives.
I never thought I would get the opportunity to become a father and I am now the father of amazing 4 year old twins (Jamie & Luke). I have been cancer free for the past 7 years. I owe all of this in part to the lessons I learned from the LiveStrong Foundation many years ago.
The LiveStrong foundation helped a local cancer survivor group start in 2003 called the Western New York Wellness Program ( www.WNYWP.org ) through Interlakes Oncology. Dr. Jim Fetten was able to start this group after riding in the Tour of Hope with Lance Armstrong. I joined the group in 2006 as a member and am now the acting president of the group.
In March of 2012 I joined the LiveStrong program at The Eastside YMCA. LIVESTRONG at the YMCA is designed for adult cancer survivors who have recently become de-conditioned or chronically fatigued from their treatment or disease. The small group, physical activity program utilizes a private, non-intimidating circuit style that helps participants build strength, increase flexibility and endurance and ultimately improve quality of life. Additional goals include reducing the side effects of treatment, preventing unwanted weight changes and improving energy levels and self-esteem.
During this free 12-week program I was able to connect to other cancer survivors that were just out of treatment or about to go back into treatment. A final goal of the program is to assist participants in developing their own physical fitness program so they can continue to practice a healthy lifestyle, not only as part of their recovery, but as a way of life. In addition to the physical benefits, the program provides participants a supportive environment and a feeling of community with their fellow survivors, YMCA staff and members.
The Greater Rochester YMCA had asked their LiveStrong trainers to nominate one participant to go Austin, Texas and participate in the 2012 Livestrong Challenge on October 21st. On Wednesday Jun 6, 2012 (exactly 9 years to the day of my initial diagnosis of cancer) I was given the most amazing gift. The YMCA of Greater Rochester awarded my wife (Carrie) and I a trip to Austin, Texas to ride in the Team LiveStrong Challenge. We cannot thank the Greater Rochester YMCA, Delta Airlines, Radission Hotels, Maureen, and Robin enough.
We attended this ride in 2005 (known then as the Ride For The Roses) being only 290 days out from an Auto Stem Cell Transplant. We were able to raise over $11,000 in 10 months and earn the Green Jersey. At that event I completed 75 miles.
It is my intention to try and raise the same amount of money for the LiveStrong foundation by September 28, 2012 which is the deadline for Ride For The Roses Qualification. It is a daunting task, but I believe it can be done.
I am asking for you help in raising this money.
I would like to sincerely thank the people on the list below for donating to this wonderful cause:
Money Raised: $3917.00
The Oldfield Family, Dan Kingsbury, Jennifer Bradley Weir, Tyler & Sarah Sweeting, Sharon Rosati, Matt & Brigid Jeffers, Jenna Plouffe, Jeanine Davis, Eric Giehl, Ada Nastasi, Chris Masseth, Geri Sehnert, Brendan Housler, Jim Giambrone, Steven Finkelstein, Leland & Dianne Blankenship, Mike & Camille Zalone, Barbara & Jay Nittoli, Paul Crane, Chris & Vicki Case, Steve & Tricia Kuntz, Chuck Case, Kristin Hamlin, Laura Toups, Billy Kimpton, Keith & Bonnie Gustin, Ed & Cindy Kirker, Dick & Carol Rizzo, Wendy & Ross Rugaber, Dave Ondra, Dexter and Deborah Craig, Dan Cooley, Tom Gerling, Ryan & Debra Marshall, Tracy Plouffe, Warren Kottwitz, Katie McCormack, Michael Muzetras, Mark Jordan, Bill Auten, Mike & Marilyn Hamlin, Roman & Paula Lewyckyj, Larry & Carol Doud, Vicky Daly, Bob Wells, Michael Deats, Jennifer Schoenweitz, Chris Knopp, Dianne Lindstrom, Barry & Penny Cherney, Scot Makai, Rose & Jim Ricciuto, Mark & Karen Hamlin, John & Judy Bacon, John & Marie Frontuto, Kerri & David St. John, John & Bettie Burtch