Monday, January 14, 2013

One More Fallen Cancer Warrior

When I first signed up for Team in Training, exactly eight years ago, each event team was assigned its own patient honoree.  Our team's (Midnight Sun Marathon Team) honored patient was a young man named Ed Stone.  He had survived leukemia at age 19 with a bone marrow transplant from his sister.  At one point, things looked bad enough that they had a moment of silence for him at his old high school football stadium.  But he pulled through, and survived another bout with some kind of other cancer a dozen years later.  Shortly after our training started early in 2005, we learned that Ed had melanoma - his third cancer, and he wasn't even 40 yet!  But the melanoma was cut out and Ed resumed triathlon training for his own spring event with Team in Training.  Within a few years, he was the first participant in Virginia to earn the coveted "TNT Triple Crown:" at least one marathon or half marathon, a triathlon of any distance, and a "Century" bike ride.  I think that he did about 10 to 15 TNT events over the years.

Then, in July or August of 2009, while getting ready for the Rock 'N Roll Half Marathon as a family team with his wife, sister, and nephew, Ed discovered melanoma in the ball of his left foot.  He went ahead and did the race, and later had a big chunk of his foot removed.  And periodically, he had more increasingly awful surgeries and chemotherapy treatments.  One of these ruined his entire left leg.  This former athlete, who did marathons, a half iron man, and 100 mile bike rides, continued to try to recover.  He was recently back in the pool, and even trying to ride a stationary bike.  He always had a smile, and was not a complainer, although he had more to justify complaining than did most people.  He was a true cancer warrior, and he was an incrEDible inspiration to so many people.  Just a few months ago, Ed walked about 2.5 miles in Light the Night.  It was difficult, but he did it.

I learned today that Ed lost his long fight early this morning.  He was 43.  He leaves behind a young widow, grieving parents, and many friends.  He inspired us all, and touched so many lives.  He did everything he could, with courage and grit, to keep on living, but it was not to be.

Rest well in peace, Ed - you will be missed by so many, my friend!  You gave it your all.  You were an amazing human being.

Read my tribute to Ed here.

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