Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Cancer Survivors Turn Ironman Competitors

Reported by Mark McPherson

Friday night CBS is airing a fundraising event called Stand Up To Cancer to raise money for cancer research. And all this week we are brining you stories of local cancer survivors.

This is the story of 5 cancer survivors who have beaten the disease and are now taking on one of sports most grueling competitions.
They start before the sun comes up, training for one of the most excruciating races the world has to offer. They are preparing for the Wisconsin Ironman race, a 2.5 mile swim, 112 mile bike, and a 26.2 mile run. "It's a test of your body, your mind, everything," said Jim Conner, an Ironman competitor. "It's a fun experience, swimming, biking, and running 140.6, is a huge accomplishment," said Ironman Coach Danniela Nichols, "why do people do the Ironman? I think to push themselves to the limit to see how far they can push themselves."
When you are looking at a 140 miles 'pushing yourself' may seem like an understatement, but for some of these athletes it's become a necessary way of life. That's because in the group 5 are cancer survivors including Nichols whose survived it twice. "I had cancer when I was 21-years-old," said Nichols, "I had cervical cancer then and overcame that, and then in 2005 I had thyroid cancer."
Today this single mom has competed in 5 ironman races and now coaches other athletes. For these survivors, competing in the ironman is just another step on their journey to get better. "Even though you have a type of disease or a body situation or anything like that you just try to overcome that and focus on your goals," said Nichols. "This is one day that I have to go through of whatever pain it is and exhaustion and frustration and being upset," said competitor and cancer survivor Michelle Lamore, "and if I can deal with one day, really that's nothing compared to what I went through."
Being able to look back on what they've survived keeps them confident they can achievce what lay ahead, and makes them appreciate what they have. "Especially the little things," said Lamore, "you know now being able to even walk up the stairs, that was a huge thing, now I look at myself and I'm swimming across the lake."
The Wisconsin Ironman race takes place Sunday, September 7th at Lake Monona in Madison. The Stand Up To Cancer event airs Friday, September 5th on NewsChannel 8 at 7:00 p.m.