Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2003
Despite Recent Medical Challenges, 75-Year-Old is Closing in on His Goal to Complete 100 Marathons
Washington, DC and Newport Beach, CA – Patients Rising, a non-profit patient advocacy organization, today said Don Wright is drawing near to accomplishing his goal of running in at least 100 marathons. What makes this personal feat even more remarkable, is that Don has run all 94 marathons to-date with cancer, while undergoing treatment, and he is doing as a 75-year-old! Don will be in Newport Beach, CA, for the 2016 OC Marathon, on May 1st – his 95th marathon.
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. Recently, there were signs that the cancer was returning, so his doctors have been trying new treatment regimens to see which is most effective for him.
“I am very grateful for the incredible advances in medicine, and for the fact that I have options,” says the 75-year-old. “There is no cure for multiple myeloma, and there were limited treatments available when I was diagnosed 13 years ago. Now however, I am excited to be taking advantage of the latest approach to treating cancer, a combination of medications that harness 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.”
It isn’t easy. In the last 8 weeks, Don had to overcome some medical setbacks, including severe back pain. He missed one marathon in February, but has rallied to get back on schedule.
“We wake up every single day with our hearts filled with gratitude for all of the marvelous treatments helping Don stay ahead of this disease,” says Ardis Wright, Don’s loving wife for the last 52 years. “Medical innovation has given us back our life. My husband has continued to live a normal life, he has lived to meet his grandchildren. None of this would have been possible if not for medical breakthroughs, and the people who make them happen.”
Don runs under the eRace 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, “Don, and cancer patients like him, continue to live productive, unencumbered lives, and it’s all due to medical innovation with a new wave of effective treatments at the forefront. Don personifies our mission to fight for access to vital therapies and services for patients with life-threatening and chronic diseases.”
The OC Marathon will be Don’s 95th overall and his 4th in 2016. The marathon follows a scenic route, beginning in Newport Beach, California and running through the coastal communities of Costa Mesa and Santa Ana and finishing at the OC Fair and Event Center.
The 75-year-old says “We’re definitely looking forward to Newport Beach. I’m feeling energetic.”