I was diagnosed in 1995 and began what turned out to be 18 months of chemotherapy. My wife and I found ourselves asking what good can come out of this experience. However, during those 18 months we became involved with a support group for WM patients headed by IWMF founder Arnie Smokler. The group consisted of fewer than 50 people, but each one with a burning desire to make a difference. The mission of this group was to raise people’s awareness of this rare disease and to raise money to help fund research.
I decided that I should take a pastime that I loved most – rowing – and begin a unique effort to do my part to help. In 1998 I started Cancer Survivor Row. It simply was putting a rowboat in at Key West, Florida, and rowing 150 miles to Miami.
The effort was not only exciting, but it raised over $30,000 for research. There were over a dozen newspaper articles and six TV news coverage stories. Over the next six years I completed three more rows and raised an additional $80,000.
WM has inspired my life in so many ways but none more than the quality of people I’ve met, including caregivers, patients, medical staff, and just a myriad of human beings who are compassionate and loving. And I can’t wait to see the good that will come out of this.