Running with Cancer


Having trouble getting off the couch? Here’s a little motivation for you.

Don Wright is running a series of marathons this fall despite the fact that he has had cancer for more than eight years. And despite the fact that he is 70 years old!

“Here I am living with cancer, and my biggest complaint is runner’s knee!”

Now Don is planning to run in the 2011 Marine Corps Marathon in Washington, DC/Arlington, VA October 29th and in the 2011 ING New York City Marathon November 6th. In recent weeks he has run marathons in Pennsylvania, Maine, and Connecticut. In all, he has run 57 marathons in 39 states since he was diagnosed with cancer in 2003.

Don’s cancer, myeloma, also called multiple myeloma, is a blood cancer that affects cells in the bone marrow and can damage bone. It cannot yet be cured. With new drugs and new treatments, for many patients it can be managed long term. Don is on an investigational new drug that may represent an even newer generation of treatment options for patients.

“I’m running with cancer, not from cancer—because living with myeloma is a marathon, not a sprint!” says Don. “I’m lucky—I take just a pill a day, so I am free to literally run around the country instead of being tied to a doctors’ office, a clinic or a hospital. And I feel great!”

In between the NY and Washington-area marathons he will visit members of Congress accompanied by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to discuss equitable reimbursement for all cancer drugs. Currently oral drugs require larger out-of-pocket payments than drugs that are given by IV transfusion.

Don, who lives in the Minneapolis area, is running under his “E-Race Cancer” banner on behalf of the charity Team Continuum to raise funds and help pay essential cost-of-living bills for cancer patients. Don is also running with the support of the Tackle Cancer Foundation in Dallas, to honor the memory of its founder, former NFL linebacker Elijah Alexander, who passed away from multiple myeloma.

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