Physical feats: Despite cancer, these patients focus on accomplishing goals

Jim Waters, who has stage IV colon cancer, raises his arms in victory after finishing the Downtown Auburn Mile in August. (PHOTO BY KEVIN RIVOLI/THE AUBURN CITIZEN/AUBURNPUB.COM)

Jim Waters, who has stage IV colon cancer, raises his arms in victory after finishing the Downtown Auburn Mile in August. (PHOTO BY KEVIN RIVOLI/THE AUBURN CITIZEN/AUBURNPUB.COM)

Jim Waters, 56, of Auburn

Diagnosis: Colon cancer that has spread to liver.

Treatment: Surgery in June 2016, plus chemotherapy.

Care team: From medical oncology, Adham Jurdi, MD, and Ibrahim Thabet, NP; surgeon Carl Weiss, MD, PhD; wife/caregiver of 25 years: Linda Waters.

Goal: Auburn Downtown Mile race, which he walked in a shuffle step on Aug. 25. “I finished 272 out of 313, so there were actually people slower than I was,” he recalls.

Proud moment: A Syracuse Chiefs season ticket holder told general manager Jason Smorol she couldn’t come to the baseball games anymore because she had cancer. Smorol connected her with Waters.

“She wanted to give up so quick,” Waters recalls. He spoke with the woman at length. “She was here a year later with me and a few other cancer survivors throwing out the first pitch.”

Waters says helping that woman is one of the most important things he’s done since his diagnosis.

Thought: “What cancer is is an excuse. If you set your mind that you can’t do something, you’ve already lost.”

William Doney, center, celebrates his 84th birthday by walking through Watertown with community members and the Watertown High School cross-country teams. (PHOTO BY AMANDA MORRISON/ WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES)

William Doney, center, celebrates his 84th birthday by walking through Watertown with community members and the Watertown High School cross-country teams. (PHOTO BY AMANDA MORRISON/ WATERTOWN DAILY TIMES)

William Doney, 84, of Watertown

Diagnosis: Brain cancer.

Treatment: Surgery, then radiation. Now imaging scans every three months to track tumors.

Care team: Neurosurgeon Walter Hall, MD; radiation oncologist Michael Lacombe, MD; wife/caregiver of 35 years,  Debbi Doney

Goal: To mark his 84th birthday, Doney was joined by friends, family, the mayor and members of the Watertown High School girls and boys cross-country teams for a nearly three-mile run/walk around the city – including up the Gotham Street hill.

“When he ran, he used to run that hill every day,” says Debbi Doney. She was initially reluctant for him to attempt such a strenuous activity, but his mind was set.

She told the Watertown Daily Times, which covered his birthday outing, that her husband takes daily walks with their three dogs: Delialah, a 12-year-old black Lab; Eloise, a terrier; and Haddie Matilda, a miniature pinscher.

Proud moment: Receiving a purple racing singlet from his alma mater – and the varsity letter that eluded him during high school.

Thought: He’s composing a letter of support to Arizona Sen. John McCain, who was diagnosed with the same kind of brain cancer: glioblastoma.

Cancer Care magazine fall 2017 coverThis article appears in the fall 2017 issue of Cancer Care magazine.

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