Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2003, Don Nears His Goal of Completing 100 Marathons Despite Recent Medical Challenges
Washington, DC and Boise, Idaho – April 5, 2016 – Patients Rising, a non-profit patient advocacy organization, today announced Don Wright is on track to meeting his personal goal of running in at least 100 marathons. And, what makes this so significant, is that Don has run all 93 marathons to-date with cancer, while undergoing treatment, and he is 75 years old! Don will be in Nampa, Idaho, near Boise, for the Lake Lowell Marathon, on April 9th – his 94th marathon with cancer.
Don was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a cancer of cells in the bone marrow, in 2003. He had been taking a pill powerful enough to keep him in remission for seven years. But recently, there were signs that the cancer was returning, so his doctors have been trying new treatment regimens to see what is most effective for him.
“I am living proof that the incredible advances in medicine can work,” says Don. “There is no cure for multiple myeloma, however, I am excited to be taking advantage of the latest approach to treating cancer, a combination of medications that harnesses the body’s own immune system. Thanks to medical innovation, I have already survived more than 10 years past what my doctors expected when I was first diagnosed.”
To reach this point, Don had to overcome some recent medical setbacks, including severe back pain, and diagnostic warnings that the cancer was coming out of remission. Don missed one marathon in February, but has rallied to get back on schedule.
“Every day we are so very thankful for today’s super-smart therapies that have allowed my husband’s myeloma to become a manageable disease,” says Ardis Wright, Don’s loving wife for the last 52 years. “Medical innovation has given us exceptional extra years. Don has been able to continue to live a normal life; he has lived to meet his grandchildren, ten and two; and our family gets to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, and other important occasions. None of this would have been possible if not for medical breakthroughs, and the people who make them happen.”
Don runs under the E-Race Cancer banner, a social media campaign that has raised awareness of multiple myeloma and medical innovation on behalf of a variety of charities for several years. Don is pleased to be running now on behalf of Patients Rising.
Terry Wilcox, Executive Director of Patients Rising says, “We have a very specific mission: We fight for access to vital therapies and services for patients with life-threatening and chronic diseases. We believe leading-edge innovation and avant-garde treatments have given patients like Don the opportunity to continue to live a productive, vibrant life, despite his cancer.”
The Lake Lowell Marathon will be Don’s 3nd in 2016. Don says, “I am told the course takes us through a picturesque park. I am eager to take in as much of the scenery as possible during my run.”