Marathon man has a post-cancer mission

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by By CHRIS HAWES / WFAA-TV

wfaa.com

Posted on October 23, 2009 at 6:46 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 12 at 12:04 PM

Marathon Man

Chris Hawes reports

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FORT WORTH - Not long ago, Don Armstrong was given a 70 percent chance he wouldn't live to see this day.

It all started with brutally honest comments by co-workers."Honestly, they told me?I looked absolutely terrible," said Armstrong.

Those observations led to a doctor's visit and subsequent diagnosis of leukemia.

Five rounds of chemotherapy and one stem cell transplant later, Armstrong emerged - 35 pounds lighter, but a survivor.

An avid runner before the cancer, Armstrong tried to celebrate his recovery with a 5K run. He recalls it as a painful, humbling experience.

"About a third of the way into it, I was actually trying to find a way back to my car, because I realized it was harder than I thought it would be."

But Armstrong kept putting one foot in front of the other, completing mile after mile, week after week, until February 2007, when he conquered his personal post-cancer Mount Everest: A marathon.

"Running," explained Armstrong, "gave me back a part of my life that I had lost."

Five marathons later, Armstrong decided he needed to do more. And so this Sunday, he's directing the first Fort Worth Honored Hero Run, raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma society.

Doctors predict that Don Armstrong's leukemia will not return. The future, for him, is once again limitless.

And now there is someone by his side. This spring - nearly three years after completing his last treatment - Don Armstrong got married.

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