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Inspirational Stories


acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)

Today I am a proud dad, avid skier, business owner and husband. For a moment though, let’s flash back to college. I wasn’t feeling well but I needed to take one last final just before winter break. After the final, I went to the school clinic and the next thing I knew it was January and I was in a hospital bed in Denver.

I was 19 years old and had been flown in a helicopter from my college town of Durango, CO to Denver. I had been in an induced coma for the last three and a half weeks. I woke up unable to speak or move my arms, legs - I couldn’t even lift a finger.

With my family and friends surrounding me, I was told that I had acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). To make it brief right now, my treatment and recovery over the next five years was the most challenging experience of my life.

I was 19 and my world quite literally stopped. I overheard doctors tell my parents that I would never walk again or drive a car - let alone ski or get on a bike again.

Not talked about enough in survivor stories is the road to recovery. The road from trauma or diagnosis to recovery is rugged. And I was barely on the road at this point - my body was too weak to handle the necessary chemo treatments.

When I was in a coma I had a trache in my throat to breathe. After you have a hole sliced into your throat, it’s almost impossible to talk. To get a few words out, I remember my sister would press really hard on the hole (which was bandaged) and I could get out a whisperer. They had to clean it what felt like every five minutes (it was probably more like 4 times a day) - which involved ripping off the bandage on my neck and swabbing my giant open neck hole with a Q-tip.

I had so much physical therapy, and I hated it. It was so hard. One day I was regularly walking, talking college kid and the next thing I knew, I had to relearn everything. I was literally learning how to put one foot in front of the other.

Once strong enough for chemo treatments, I lost all of my beautiful hair. Which might surprise you, but I was really, really bummed about losing my hair.

My ever-loving and super awesome parents were doing everything to help me through, which included buying me a brand new Tacoma truck. I couldn’t walk on my own at this point and this was my ultimate motivation. I went with them to the dealership to pick it out. It was a stick shift and I couldn’t drive it off the lot but I had those keys with me in the hospital for the next couple of weeks. I learned to drive again in the hospital parking lot with Caleb.

The 2024 America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride will be my fourth event with Team In Training. I completed a half-marathon with Boulder Backroads in 2006, a triathlon in Monterey in 2008, and a Wildflower triathlon at Lake San Antonio in 2009.