MINNEAPOLIS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--eRace Cancer, a social media campaign to educate patients about advances and innovations in treatments, says Don Wright has successfully qualified for the 2019 National Senior Games in all four of the distances he plans to run. Don made the cut during his very first qualifying meet on June 2nd sponsored by the Pasadena Senior Games. This would be impressive for any runner, but Don is 77 years old, he has had cancer for 15 years, and he still takes powerful medications to control the disease. Now Don heads to more meets to improve his time and further prepare for the National Senior Games in Albuquerque next June, beginning with the Iowa Senior Games, June 9th, in Des Moines; the Empire State Senior Games, June 16th, in Cortland, NY; and the Washington State Senior Games, July 21st.
“I ran a few seconds slower than the required time in each category, but I am proud to say that I made the cut my first time out because I finished among the top four runners in my age group at each distance.”
Don, who lives in Minnesota outside of Minneapolis-St. Paul, has multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that affects cells in the bone marrow. It is not yet curable, but in many patients it can be managed long-term with modern medicines. Don’s case requires two cancer medications – a pill he can take at home and an intravenous medicine that requires him to go to the medical center for regular infusions. But as Don says, “this is not your grandfather’s chemotherapy.” These modern innovations – not even available when Don was first diagnosed – fight the cancer, but don’t interfere with his ability to run competitive races. That’s why Don is fighting for all patients to have affordable access to the treatments they need.
Don says, “I’m not talking about the cost of these amazing therapeutics. I can’t put a price tag on being able to move on with my life, my family and my work as an attorney. The competitive running symbolizes that. I am talking about good insurance and manageable copays. That’s what has allowed me to get the treatments I need, and all patients should have the same opportunity.”
Don already achieved a milestone of completing 100 marathons with cancer in 2016. His decision to trade-in marathons for sprints and dashes met with some early challenges. Although Don is successfully fighting cancer, it does not stop problems that can plague any runner, including a hamstring pull that delayed his training and required him to run slower than he’d like. Nevertheless, at his first qualifying meet June 2nd on the campus of California State University in Los Angeles, Don qualified in all four of the distances he plans to enter: the 1500 meter, 400 meter, 800 meter, and 200 meter runs.
Now Don is working to improve his time with the additional meets in Iowa, in NY, and in Washington state, and with perhaps four additional meets tentatively planned for this fall.