eNews: Gordon McGill's Story

eNews May 2012

AICR eNews May 2012 | Issue 70

Gordon McGill's Story

Gordon McGillIn 2008 my wife and I ran the New York Marathon with Team Reeve from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation. The experience was so meaningful that I promised myself that I would run another as soon as I could. However, in 2009 I was diagnosed with cancer of the bladder and since then I have had numerous procedures and undergone three series of chemotherapy in an effort to control it. Running with Team Reeve in the New York Marathon convinced me that participating with a charitable group makes the effort far more meaningful and now that I understand how difficult a disease it is to cure, I am more convinced than ever of the need we all have to fight cancer.

First as my trainer for the New York Marathon and now as a great friend who works with me every week to help keep me in shape to overcome the difficulties of my cancer treatments, Sam Ditzell and I bicker about who challenged who to run the 2012 Big Sur Marathon. For the past four years, Sam has constantly encouraged me every week to fight my disease with a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, and a good attitude. Now, we are both committed to taking the effort to the next level and Big Sur with Team AICR as we continue the fight against cancer together.

I have often found that the benefits of goal setting come not from the goal itself, but from all of the things that happen and shape us as we strive to reach that goal. And, so it is that while our goal was to run the Big Sur Marathon together, it is really the things that have happened as a result of our training that have made all the difference in my life and in my recovery from cancer. Among the obvious benefits are greatly improved cardiovascular fitness and strength, the loss of 35 pounds I certainly did not need, and a vastly improved diet. What is not so obvious is a continual renewal of a joy for the out of doors, a heartily needed boost in energy, and an appreciation for all of the wonderful people who have supported me in life's struggles.

Most of all, I am overwhelmed with a sense of gratitude for Sam and his unrelenting dedication to helping me and indeed everyone with whom he works to achieve incredible levels of health and happiness in the face of significant difficulties. I have never met anyone that approaches Sam's level of discipline when he dedicates himself to helping others. The amazing part of that dedication is I have never heard him utter a discouraging comment to anyone, let alone me, when most of us who surround him are so lacksidaisical. I suppose he is either deaf, dumb and blind, or has an incomparable sense of compassion for others – either way, Sam is a tremendous blessing to all of us who work with him.

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