Tuesday, March 22, 2011

70 Year-Old Terry Latham: A Life Spent Beating Bullies with Strength, Honor and Kindness. Dana Point, CA

As a teen in Oxfordshire, England, 70 year-old Terry Latham excelled in sports. “I was tall and tough,” he recalls with a grin. “I played rugby. I was fast. I set all kinds of records. Looking back, sports saved me.”

From 1948 to 1959, Terry lived and attended school at the Kingham Hill School Orphanage, a place that valued basic survival skills. He both avoided and ended many a scrape, thanks in part to his strength and cunning. He learned that bullys were simply cowards with brawn and once he overcame his fears they were just another bump in the road.

Since childhood Terry has honed his mind and body to deal with external threats. Through his 60s and 70s, he continued to exercise with near religious devotion. Recently, Terry was introduced to a bully of another kind. One not so easy to duck, dodge or knock down.

On March 22, 2010, with a simple, yet profound, “I’m sorry” from his pulmonologist, Terry and his lovely wife, Mary, were told that he had malignant pleural mesothelioma. What began as an annoying cough worsened until it was affecting him all the time, “I sing deeply (and “beautifully” added Mary!), but started coughing on the high notes,” explained Terry. “I began feeling a lot of pressure in my chest.” Click here for the rest of the story.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Breakaway From Cancer Masters Team Honors Eugene Stirone of Mission Viejo, CA: Never Give Up!

Murietta, CA. After a rough start, the Breakaway from Cancer (BfC) Masters Bike Racing team rallied on the third and final stage of the 2011 Tour De Murrieta to sweep the top three podium spots.

The fired-up team dedicated the hard fought sweep to charismatic cancer survivor Eugene “Gene” Stirone, age 69, of Mission Viejo, California. Gene's story is compelling. In 2008, he overcame late stage prostrate cancer and just when he thought he was home free he was diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma, a rare cancer of the lung linings caused by asbestos.

Gene, a US Navy Veteran, took the bad news in stride. He was advised that mesothelioma was incurable, but he had heard that before from his prostate doctors. He bore down and got busy finding the best doctor while not forgetting to do his part to enjoy each precious moment of his otherwise wonderful life.

Gene consulted with three surgeons: two wanted to amputate his lung, the other wanted to leave it be and focus on stripping out the visible tumor surrounding his lung. Gene chose to keep his lung and hired the doctor who erred on keeping a vital and perfectly health organ in place – Dr. Robert Cameron of UCLA Medical School.

After a successful surgery, followed by aggressive radiation and interferon treatments, Gene returned to the gym where he worked out with weights. He rode his bike to the beach, played golf, sailed and enjoyed his daily walks. Unfortunately, just when his future looked brightest, of all things, his prostrate cancer reared it’s ugly head.

Gene again took the bad news in stride. He had his son by side and his sense of humor in tact. Gene describes his 26 year old son Vince as his "best friend." Vince plays in a rock band and, as Gene proudly reports, he’s even able to help pay the bills around the house. Inspired by Vince’s "live your dreams" example, Gene recently took up piano lessons, which he credits for soothing his soul and getting his mind off of his increasing discomfort.

After the first stage of the Tour de Murrieta, BfC’s Richard Meeker was tops on the leader board, while mates Thurlow Rogers and Roger Worthington were 6th and 7th. Meeker spent the next two days launching, attacking, bridging, blocking, decoying and all but cradling Rogers and Worthington.

It was a total team effort,” said Meeker, many times a masters national champion. “I knew after the time trial I had excellent form. The goal was not simply for me to win but for our team to sweep the podium. That’s what a team’s all about – a combination of focused individual effort and cunning team work.”

Meeker helped Thurlow win the criterium in a breakaway and in the circuit race, Meeker, Thurlow, Steve Strickler, Malcolm Hill and Peter Sullivan stymied all chase groups so that Worthington could could escape off the front for the win, which helped him leapfrog into 3rd place overall.

"We never gave up," said Meeker. "This win goes to Gene Stirone, a tough, resilient guy who never gives up. If a smile or laughter could kill cancer, Gene would live forever."

March 18, 2011

Breakaway from Cancer Masters Team is sponsored by Amgen, UBS, the Pacific Meso Center, Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and others. For more information about the Breakaway from Cancer/UBS/PMC elite masters team, click here

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Save the Date! Breakaway from Cancer, April 30, 2011

Dana Point, CA. Attention cancer patients, caregivers, doctors and sports fans: Have we got a weekend for you!

The Dana Point Community Cycling Foundation (DPCCF) is pleased to invite you to join us celebrate life, family, friends and fitness on April 30, 2011 at a cancer fundraiser at the Dana Point Yacht Club.

The evening will include food, beverages, a silent auction and a roster of inspiring cancer survivors, physicians, professional bike racers and advocates. The doors open at 6 pm and close around 8 pm. The Dana Point Yacht Club is located on the island in the breathtakingly beautiful Dana Point Harbor. Tickets are $60.

All proceeds from the gala will be donated to Amgen's Breakaway from Cancer initiative, the Pacific Meso Center and the DPCCF.

The fun and festivities continue the next day, Sunday, May 1, 2011 when thousands of bike racers of all ages, families, fans and friends will take to the clean streets of downtown Dana Point for the 5th Annual Pro-Am Breakaway from Cancer Dana Point Grand Prix.

The day will feature non-stop highlights, including the always action-packed kids races, the men's pro race and, for the first time, the Breakaway Walk, in which cancer survivors and caregivers are invited to parade down the finish stretch of the race course. Bring your cameras! For details, click here

Please join us. This will be an unforgettable experience that will combine sport and charity. On Saturday night, raise a toast to more and better life as we watch the sun dip down over the Pacific Ocean. On Sunday, put on your game face, whether it's to race your bike, walk with your chest out and chin up, or simply to spectate and support worthy charities.

For more information about the Breakaway from Cancer Fundraiser, click here.

For more information about the Breakway from Cancer Dana Point Grand Prix, click here. Cancer survivors, bike racers and sports fans: this weekend's for you! We appreciate your support.

Don't sit back, attack!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Breakaway From Cancer/Pacific Meso Center Dedicates Win to Wally and Charlotte Miller

Callville Bay, Nevada. Roger Worthington, racing for Breakaway from Cancer/Pacific Meso Center, won the three day Callville Bay Classic in the 45+ masters division this weekend and dedicated the victory to Wally and Charlotte Miller of Eugene, Oregon.

"Wally Miller inspired me," said Worthington. "A plumber for over 50 years, he married his high school sweetheart, built houses and earned a reputation for taking the initiative, cooperating with others, and keeping the faith. Right up to his last breath, Wally showed amazing grit and grace."

Mr. Miller had been diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma in December of 2010. Unfortunately, the diagnosis came too late for Mr. Miller to pursue reasonable treatment options. He passed away a few months later, still full of life, but out of breath, at the age of 70.

Worthington notes that it's the mission of the Pacific Meso Center to educate both patients and doctors on life-extending and lung-sparing surgical options, but any treatments must be predicated on a firm diagnosis. Mr. Miller began showing symptoms months before his diagnosis, but unfortunately, despite many doctors visits, a final diagnosis had eluded him.

Mr. Miller is survived by Charlotte, his beloved wife of 51 years, four children and ten grandchildren. Wally left a big footprint on this Earth. He earned a reputation among his employees and fellow contractors for demanding and rallying his crew to achieve the highest quality work. A quick wit with a self-deprecating sense of humor, even in his final days he managed to make his family and many visitors laugh.

"On his final day, as he lay in bed in the house he built," recalled Worthington, "Wally let his sinewy muscles go slack and he whispered softly, 'I'm outta here.' When I hit the summit of the climb in the time trial, my lungs gasping and my legs screaming to stop, I thought of Wally, turned to the pain, and told it to back off, that I was "outta here...'"

Worthington managed to eek out a 2 second gap over his nearest rival, which he sustained over the next two days for the overall stage race victory. Breakaway from Cancer is an initiative of Amgen, Inc, whose mission is to increase awareness of resources available to cancer patients, from prevention through survivorship. http://www.breakawayfromcancer.com/index.html