My old friend, Don Wright, is the Energizer Bunny of multiple myeloma; he keeps running and running…
Vital Options International Says 74-Year-Old Cancer Patient to Run His 88th Marathon with Myeloma
In 2003 Don Wright was Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a Cancer of Cells in the Bone Marrow
In Final Stretch to Reach 100 Marathons Since Diagnosis
Previously Completed Marathons in All 50 US States and Three Prior Races in Canada
WASHINGTON & MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–August 18, 2015–Vital Options International, a non-profit patient advocacy organization, today said Don Wright is on his way to running 100 marathons, even though he is 74 years old and is actively undergoing treatment for cancer. Don began running marathons in 2003 at the time he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of cells in the bone marrow. Don will be running his 88th marathon since diagnosis in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada (http://www.edmontonmarathon.ca/) on August 23rd.
“Here I am with cancer, and my biggest problem is a pulled hamstring.”
“Imagine taking just a pill to treat cancer,” said Don Wright. “Modern medical advances keep me running, now well past the five year prognosis that was the expected survival when I was diagnosed.”
For the past seven years, Don has been on an oral medication that keeps his cancer in check while allowing him to be free to run marathons across the US and Canada. However, multiple myeloma cannot be cured, so Don relies on continuing innovation to provide the next generation of treatments to ensure his cancer remains in remission.
“The medical advances that have given Don these extra years give our entire family birthdays, anniversaries, and wonderful times together that otherwise would have been missed,” says Ardis Wright, who has been married to Don for 50 years.
Don runs under the E-Race Cancer banner, a social media campaign that has raised awareness of multiple myeloma on behalf of a variety of charities for several years. Don is pleased to be running now on behalf of Vital Options International, fighting for patient access to new, innovative treatments.
“Don shows us all what can be achieved when medical research is transformed into treatments,” said Terry Wilcox, Executive Director of Vital Options International. “Our goal is to empower patients to advocate for lasting policy reforms that streamline access to medical innovation, personalized treatment and the highest quality care they need and deserve.”
This will be Don’s third marathon in 2015 and first since March. He has been busy adjusting his medication and working to overcome some of the muscle pulls that all runners experience from time to time.
As Don has said, “Here I am with cancer, and my biggest problem is a pulled hamstring.”
Following the Edmonton Marathon, Don plans to run the Dick Beardsley Marathon in Detroit Lakes, MN, the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC, and he is considering others at the end of the year.
Don was the first myeloma patient I ever met. I had the good fortune to sit next to Don and his lovely wife, Ardis, at an IMF event in Minneapolis. I was beside myself at the time. Diagnosed a month earlier, I had just finished two weeks of grueling radiation therapy, distraught and hopped up on pain meds.
I’m tightly wound anyway. I can only imagine what Don was thinking as I raddled on. Don patiently listened and answered my questions; I think that afternoon was the first time I could take a breath since my diagnosis. So began a friendship that has lasted to this day.
If you ask Don, I’m sure he would downplay his role in my recovery. But I remember…
If only all of us responded to pomalidomide as well as Don; best we can tell it worked for me for four or five months.
Keep running, good friend. Keep running.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat