Diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma in 2003
Don Wright Has Overcome Recent Medical Setbacks to Make the Fargo, ND Race His 96th Marathon Since Diagnosis
WASHINGTON & FARGO, N.D. — Patients Rising, a non-profit patient advocacy organization, announced today that 75-year old cancer patient Don Wright has entered the Fargo Marathon, on Saturday, May 21st. This will be his 96th marathon with cancer, while on active treatment, putting Don on the verge of achieving his goal to run in at least 100 marathons since his diagnosis 13 years ago. In December 2012, Don joined an elite group of runners who have completed at least one marathon in all fifty states.
In its 12th year, the 2016 Fargo Marathon 26.2 mile course is unique because the race starts from inside the Fargodome. That means approximately 15,000+ cheering fans and spectators will be there to urge on the marathoners.
“This is the third time I will run this race,” says Don Wright. “I ran here in 2014 and back in 2006. It’s one of my favorites because the course is flat! Also, the tree-lined streets of north Fargo are beautiful this time of year and quite picturesque. We love running through the neighborhoods while everyone watches the parade. And we do venture into Moorhead in Minnesota, so this is a two-state race, making it a truly one-of-a-kind experience.”
Diagnosed in 2003 with multiple myeloma, a cancer of cells in the bone marrow, Don Wright 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. To date, Don is on his 5th treatment, spanning the last 13 years.
“There Is Hope After Diagnosis”, says Don. “I have been on a new combo treatment regimen for a number of weeks now, adding a new infusion that stimulates the immune system to the pill I’ve been taking all these years. I am very grateful for the incredible advances in medical innovation.”
However, there are threats to this medical innovation in the form of critics who are utilizing platforms called “value-frameworks” that would limit healthcare spending on new treatments. As a 13-year cancer survivor, Don believes “value-framework” is just code for reducing costs by rationing treatments, and the result would be to deny the best medications to those who need them the most. Don cannot stress enough that now is not the right time to deny the medical progress that has worked so well.
Ardis Wright, Don’s loving wife for the last 53 years says, “If it weren’t for the fact that my husband has been given access to these innovative treatments every step of the way, I doubt that Don would have been able to stay ahead of this disease. We should make every effort to keep moving forward. These are the greatest tools for survival cancer patients have.”
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.
“Don shows us what can be achieved when we say ‘Right Treatment, Right Patient, Right Now,’” says Terry Wilcox, Executive Director of Patients Rising. “Don personifies our mission to encourage medical innovation, and to empower patients to fight for their needs. Don inspires all of us to embrace the possible, even when, in marathon terms, it seems like it’s 26 miles away.”
The Fargo Marathon will be Don Wright’s 96th overall and his 5th in 2016. Don says “Last time I ran here I found the race fun, family-friendly and full of energy. I expect more of the same.”