Don Wright says he's not running from cancer, he's running against it. And he's run a long way.
Having already finished marathons in all 50 states, Wright has now set his sights on completing 100 of them. The one he'll run through Houston, Texas, on Sunday will be number 92.
Not bad for a guy who didn't get started running marathons until he was 62 – and was diagnosed with cancer less than two weeks later.
WDIO reports the first marathon for the Duluth East graduate was Grandma's in 2003.
Since that summer of '03, Wright has been fighting multiple myeloma. It's a cancer that strikes plasma cells which collect in bone marrow and can damage the immune system. (Learn more about it from Mayo Clinic or the American Cancer Society.)
The patient advocacy group Patients Rising says when Wright was diagnosed, his life expectancy was three to five years. But new treatments were developed that helped him keep living – and running.
For seven years, Patients Rising says, Wright took a pill to keep his myeloma at bay. But the remission finally ended and now, as he reaches his 75th birthday, he relies on newer treatments to fend off the cancer.
Not surprisingly, Wright is an inspiration to many people, particularly those living with multiple myeloma.
Wright and his wife Ardis will celebrate 53 years of marriage this spring. Ardis, who travels with her husband and sometimes runs half marathons herself, says through Patients Rising "You could say we both benefit from his treatments. In fact, our whole family does."