Stage 4 cancer can’t stop Morrie Shepherd from training for Obliteride. He’s been traveling to some interesting places recently – from Panama to Costa Rica to Arizona making sure he enjoys every day and lives life to its fullest. Part of that includes raising money for Obliteride to support lifesaving research at Fred Hutch. He comes back to Seattle for treatment, and he checks in with us frequently. He’s a huge fan of Obliteride, and we’re a huge fan of his.
Here’s Morrie’s story.
Last year, Morrie went on his first long training ride for Obliteride just hours after getting infused with the cancer-fighting drug Taxol. The 67-year-old, who is being treated for stage 4 head and neck cancer, rode 12 miles scoping out the course on the Burke-Gilman trail and proved to himself he would be able to do it.
“I’ve never been a big biker, but I just had to get out and try it,” he said.
In treatment for the last four-and-a-half years (he’s gone through radiation, most all of the chemo treatments available for his type of cancer and has participated in Hutch clinical trials), Morrie feels it’s crucial to support other cancer survivors because he knows how good it is to feel the love.
“As a cancer patient being treated at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center I was excited to be well enough to do the inaugural ride in 2013,” Morrie says. “I wanted to give back to Fred Hutch for all that has been given to me during my treatment. And what a better way to give back, than help raise funds for the cutting-edge cancer research that goes on here.”
Last year, Morrie teamed up with his old University of Washington roommate to form team U-Dub 67-68, along with his son and brother-in law. The foursome raised $7,500 through their 25-mile ride.
This year, although Morrie’s cancer has been advancing for the past ten months, he is going to participate in the 2014 Obliteride. He has enlisted all three of his sons, two brothers-in-law, and a dear friend, herself a cancer survivor from Alaska to join his Team U Dub. He hopes his team can raise $10,000.
Morrie realizes he is getting weaker as cancer advances, but he has a backup plan. If need be, his team will pull him through the course on a tandem bike. As Morrie continues to fight, he holds out hope that another therapy at Fred Hutch may help him out. He knows because of research, he has a chance of living a better quality of life longer, as do all those who follow in his footsteps. He believes we can change the statistics by riding in Obliteride to fund lifesaving research at Fred Hutch.
“Obliteride was a really fulfilling event last year, and this year I have something to look forward to again,” he said. “It’s so important to never give up.”
Read more from Morrie on his Obliteride participant page.