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Ryan Humphrey and King's Adam Simson
By Mark Pavilons
A King resident and Toronto firefighter believers there's no such thing as borders when it comes to helping our fellow men and women.
Adam Simson, a 16-year King resident, joined family and friends May 4 for Ryan's Angiosarcoma Awareness 5k Run/Walk in Troy, Michigan.
Simson's cousin and some of his friends worked with Ryan Humphrey, a young family man who had it all, until his life came crashing down with the diagnosis of a rare form of cancer.
Ryan felt blessed by his wife Andrea and their two sons, Landon and Logan.
Just as Ryan earned his wings with a dream-come-true career (a pilot with American Airlines/American Eagle), life threw Ryan a curve ball when he learned that he had angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive and little known cancer. As a result of undergoing lung surgery and unable to pass the medical requirements for pilots, Ryan was no longer able to fly so he returned to his previous position as a customer service agent.
When the cancer returned in 2012, Ryan refused to have the disease take over his life. Instead, while undergoing 10 rounds of chemotherapy, Ryan enrolled in undergraduate classes in medical school and he also started researching and learning more about angiosarcoma so that he could make others aware of this rare and deadly form of cancer.
According to Humphrey, angiosarcoma accounts for only 0.1% of adult malignancies, is poorly understood, and is one of the most aggressive cancers. It also has a dismal prognosis with a five-year overall survival rate of only 30%. The lining of the blood vessels (endothelial cells) become malignant. In angiosarcoma, the endothelial cells grow uncontrollably and create more blood vessels until a tumor comprised of blood vessels has formed. This cancer is particularly aggressive because it has a high rate of metastasis.
Ryan created a website, www.nobodyfightsalone.com, to share what he has learned and his experiences.
Although Ryan watched his dream career as a commercial pilot fade away, because of his battle with angiosarcoma, he refused to give up the fight and today he is blessed to be alive and a survivor.
Ryan has made it his mission to make people aware of angiosarcoma.
And Simson was happy to be part of it all.
“Although I live in Canada, I went to Michigan because I wanted to support Ryan Humphrey and his goal of making people aware of angiosarcoma,” Simson said. “Working as a full-time firefighter, I have always believed that in the emergency services, there are ‘no borders' and that we are an international brotherhood/sisterhood when it comes to supporting each other in the emergency services.
“I have the same belief when it comes to supporting people in communities that we serve, not just while on duty, but also outside of our scheduled work days. Diseases know no borders so, when it comes to supporting people and worthwhile causes I also believe that there are no borders.”
Simson said he lost two fellow firefighters from the truck he worked on, to cancer.
Simson added that Humphrey was deeply touched that he made the trek to Troy, Michigan to support him. Ryan wrote Adam: “Trust me when I say the honor was all mine! You're an amazing person. Thank you so very much for making the trek to Troy. It was a pleasure sharing this amazing event with you. Thank you!”
Simson said it was he who was deeply touched and honoured to be there for Ryan.
“Ryan, you are my hero, a true inspiration.”
Simson noted he met so many wonderful people from all across the U.S. at the fundraising event.
Humphrey reported they prepared for the run without any high expectations, aiming for 200 runners raising $10,000.
“We far exceeded these original goals. We were able to raise almost $26,000 and 368 racers officially crossed the finish line. We had approximately 450 people in attendance at the event. The day was truly amazing, inspiring, and full of hope!”
Humphrey said he wanted the event to be more than just about angiosarcoma.
“I wanted people to understand that our coming together was for the good of all of us. It was a way for everyone to share stories, accomplishments, sorrows, and triumphs. It made me ecstatic to have individuals email me their take on the day.
“It was just as much of an honor for me as it was for them. I very much look forward to next years event. The date is set as May 3, 2014.”
Humphrey noted the event took place on Saturday and he endured his chemo treatment the following Monday.
He continues to keep in touch with his supporters via his Facebook posts.
“Today is chemo Monday, but I am still on an incredible emotional high from Saturday. It matters not that cancer killing poison will be going through me in an hour!
“The life-changing and profound effect you all have had on my life is unprecedented, undeserving, and unexpected! There are few times in my life that even compare to what happened this weekend!”
“I truly believe part of the battle, with anything in life, is mental; whether it be strength, determination, courage, ability to remain calm, reflection, etc, but what they all point to is stress. You need to mitigate and minimalize the stress in your life.
“For me, I feed off of you; your hope; your stories; your strength; your inspiration, and your love. What this weekend did for me, what you all have done for me over my entire journey, especially this last month, is a pure miracle. The fire it instills in my heart, the passion it fuels in my soul and the determination to not let you down and fight to the end are all forever engraved in my psyche.”
If you'd like to find out more about Ryan's journey, visit http://nobodyfightsalone.com/.
Excerpt: A King resident and Toronto firefighter believers there’s no such thing as borders when it comes to helping our fellow men and women.
Post date: 2013-05-28 16:12:34
Post date GMT: 2013-05-28 20:12:34
Post modified date: 2013-06-11 14:52:21
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