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Triathletes test their physical strengths in support of cancer patients
Jul 17, 2015

Triathletes test their physical strengths in support of cancer patients

A team of 12 will set out later this month to accomplish something that only five percent of the population ever has—and they’re doing it in support of cancer patients in Lane County.  

Dr. Charles Anderson, a gynecologic oncologist at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute, his wife, Cassi, and members of Team Endure will compete in the Half Ironman Triathlon at the Pacific Crest Weekend Sports Festival June 26-28 in Sunriver, Oregon.

“We’ve been training for this race for six months,” Dr. Anderson says. “It’s been tough, but we focus on why we’re doing this and the people who will be helped, and it keeps us going.”

It’s no easy feat. The triathlon consists of a 1.2-mile swim, a 58-mile bike ride and a 13.1-mile run. But Team Endure is focused on more than just finishing the race. It’s working to match or exceed last year’s goal of raising nearly $24,000 for Oregon Cancer Foundation.

About Oregon Cancer Foundation
The Foundation provides stopgap financial assistance to patients receiving cancer-related services at Willamette Valley Cancer Institute & Research Center, so they don’t have to choose between treatment and basic needs.

Sometimes all that is needed is a small amount of money before other resources kick in, or before a family can make lifestyle changes to ease their financial situation. Oregon Cancer Foundation provides assistance where it’s needed most, which depending on a patient’s situation might include paying a utility bill, or providing a tank of gas or a hotel room stay if they must travel from out of town for treatment.

An example would be one of Dr. Anderson’s patients. Assistance from the Foundation allowed her to attend a yoga class, which helped reduce the stress and depression she was experiencing from the side effects of her cancer treatment.

 “The Foundation meets a critical need in Lane County,” says Dr. Anderson, who serves on the Foundation’s board of directors. “To be able to provide assistance where it’s needed most is vital for taking care of the patient, not just their cancer.”

Anderson Triathlon

Dr. Anderson training for Half Ironman event

A test of endurance
“Participating in endurance events is representative of what cancer patients go through,” says Team Endure Director Jeanette Carbaugh. “There are hard days, and then there are good days. On the hard days, you have to push through and celebrate the positive moments.”

Jeanette and her husband, Mike, got involved with Team Endure after several tough years of feeling helpless and anxious watching friends and family members battle various forms of cancer.

“It was terrible. You couldn’t even mention the word cancer, and I would tear up and we just knew we just had to do something,” says Jeanette.

The couple found that competing in triathlons and fundraising through Team Endure gave them a tangible way to help. And for every member of the team, this effort is personal.

For Dr. Anderson, it’s about supporting his patients on another level. And that’s what he’ll be thinking about on race day.

“Knowing that friends, family and even patients have donated to the cause will keep me going. One way or another, we will all cross that finish line. This cause is too important to settle for anything less.”

If you would like to make a donation to Team Endure and support Oregon Cancer Foundation, click here.