Monday, May 14, 2001

He's 65, on 1,300-mile run


Cancer awareness impels man who'll be stopping here

By Tim Bonfield
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        A 65-year-old man running from Kansas City to Washington, D.C., is scheduled to pass through Cincinnati Tuesday on a trek to raise awareness about sarcoma, a class of relatively rare cancers.

        Peter Fish of Gold Hill, Ore., will be about halfway through a 1,300-mile trek when he arrives today in Cleves. He expects to run from Cleves to downtown Cincinnati along U.S. 50.

        Drivers on U.S. 50 may see Mr. Fish jogging toward downtown in the late morning or early afternoon. He'll be the man in a red baseball cap wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with a green and red dragon.

        Mr. Fish started his run April 8 on his 65th birthday and has been averaging 20 miles a day.

        “It's going fine so far,” Mr. Fish said. “I'm staying healthy some way or another. No injuries, not even minor injuries.”

        Mr. Fish, who took up running in 1994, said he was inspired to raise awareness about sarcoma because his second daughter, Katie, was diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago at age 41 with a gastrointestinal stromal tumor, a type of sarcoma.

        She had surgery in September 1999 and has been doing well. However, cancer doctors do not consider the disease cured until a person has lived cancer-free for at least five years.

        Sarcoma describes a class or family of many relatively rare types of cancer that account for less than 1 percent of all new cancer cases each year. Sarcomas can occur in soft tissues and in bones.

        The American Cancer So ciety estimates that in 2001 about 8,700 new soft tissue sarcomas will be diagnosed in the United States. The society also estimates that 4,400 Americans will die this year of soft tissue sarcomas.

        Survival rates vary widely, depending on how far the tumors have spread when diagnosed.

        Only about half of soft tissue sarcomas are found in their early stages, according to the society.

        Mr. Fish said his goal is to encourage more awareness and research into treatments for sarcomas. According to his Web site, money raised would be divided among several research centers and the Association of Cancer Online Resources.

        After leaving downtown Cincinnati, Mr. Fish plans to run north toward Columbus with stops in Loveland, Waynesville, Xenia and Springfield.
        For information more about Mr. Fish's run, check his Web site, www.russ2001.org.

       



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