Gary Orr takes on Lake Placid, NY Ironman

Gary Orr is a two year survivor of Stage lV Esophageal  Cancer and wants to help bring awareness of this disease and hopefully raise money to support a research project that will lead to an early detection of this disease.

Gary’s story begins when as a youngster he became interested in swimming and found himself swimming 11 months out of the year. He continued with swimming and ultimately getting a scholarship to a Division 1 College. Realizing the politics that go along with a Division one school he decided to return home and go to Ramapo College where he was a leader on the swim team.  He set many records some of which still stand today and won the 1650 Metropolitan Conference Championship by two-tenths of a second.

Gary became interested in Triathlons and over the years participated in 4 Iron man triathlons. He competed in the 1997, 2001, 2002, and 2006 iron man events and completed them in less than 17 hours which is the time limit they place on a successful completion of the event.  He celebrated finishing the 2006 event by marrying his wife Dana the day after the Lake Placid event was completed.

Gary’s sister contracted multiple myeloma and was given three months to live if a suitable bone marrow donor wasn’t found. Gary took the bone marrow test and found that he was a match and did the bone marrow procedure that was painful but worth it as his sister lived for 13 years after the procedure was complete.

In April 2009, Gary was diagnosed with a stage lV adenocarcinoma of the esophagus. The tumor had spread beyond his esophagus and the protocol was chemo and radiation and if necessary an extensive surgery where they would remove a portion of his esophagus and a portion of his stomach as part of the surgery.

The tumor had spread to Gary’s back and he had to have surgery to remove a portion of his rib and the surrounding area. Gary’s doctor informed him that he had removed it all during the surgery.  He entered a program of chemo and radiation and successfully completed that protocol and was declared cancer free.

The most critical time for recurrence in a tumor like the one Gary had is 2 years and on July of this year, we are happy to say Gary has passed that time frame.  In celebrating this achievement, Gary has decided to begin training for the Lake Placid Triathlon.  Gary feels a need to help fight this cancer and has joined with the Esophageal Cancer Education Foundation in our effort to bring awareness of this disease and support research projects that will lead to an early detection of this disease.  Please consider supporting Gary in his fundraising effort.  You can visit Gary’s fundraising page at http://ironman.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=1004742&lis=1&supId=341961747

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