“Sometimes the bad things that happen in our lives put us directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to us.” –George Fetko
George Fetko is an endurance athlete, competitive cyclist, course record breaker (267.6 miles in 12 hours) and now, a cancer survivor and DCC rider.
George is no stranger to charity cycling events. He has been extremely active in the Pan Mass Challenge in Boston, twice raising $21,000 for cancer research and finishing first in 2006 ahead of Tour De France winner Greg Lemond. Having recently moved to Florida, George knew very little of the DCC.
During his treatment at Sylvester, George found himself standing in front of the large DCC wallscapes in the Miami facility lobby. “In that moment I was inspired to participate as soon as I could. The combination of my passion for cycling, gratefulness to Sylvester and joy to be in remission compelled me to partake and pedal for a cure.”
While in treatment for sarcoma, he continued to ride a stationary bicycle when physically able. “Doctors, technicians and medical staff personnel repeatedly commented on how significant and advantageous it was that I was an athlete in superior physical condition, which enabled me to withstand extreme doses on schedule.” he recalled. After hurdles of pursuit, George partnered with Dr. Breelyn Wilky at Sylvester. Knowing he was an endurance athlete she told him initially, “this is not a race, it is a marathon.”
“Cancer has not only affected my life but everyone in it. Instantly, you are impaired trying to digest and comprehend the diagnosis. Every aspect of your life is confiscated and replaced with a calendar of medical appointments, hospital stays, surgeries, transfusions, tests, labs, prescriptions, injections and chemo infusions. In between these undertakings you are confined from your customary life and instead have to maintain a regiment of harsh side effects, diet, preventive measures, sickly health and your fear amplifies. During the lengthy treatments you become educated, encounter endless caring professionals, commit to be pro-active and essentially are piloted by the doctor and team. Your awareness and concern for other cancer patients is broadened and you must adhere to the medical strategies and the main essential is positive mental belief.”
George believes his successful road to remission and what is vital to any cancer patient is the same principle he uses to cycle competitively:
“The success is 90% mental and 10% physical, which has repeatedly been key to my victories. The combination of compassion, professionals, family, friends, love and faith were essential elements to keep my mental state positive for which I am forever thankful.”
George is determined to exceed his $10,000 goal for “Team Wilky” aptly named in honor of his oncologist. His other goal is to finish with the lead group, not because it is a race (as it is a ride), but because knowing he is striving to return to his full potential will only make him ride harder.
“I think a universal mission goal to end cancer is equally prominent as to aspire for world peace. One out of three people face cancer diagnosis, then add the multiplying number of family, friends and co-workers that are affected by a single patient, it definitely encompasses many lives. The fact is, if you are not currently an advocate to support cancer prevention, you will be. If everyone joins the fight now and contributes in some way, we get closer to saving lives.”