Stage IV cancer patient prepares for Ironman

This October, 68 year-old Mike Levine will become the first Stave IV pancreatic cancer patient to complete an Ironman race. 

Ironman cancer

This October, over 2000 athletes will take part in the inaugural Ironman Championships. After a gruelling 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike ride, contestants will race a 26.2-mile marathon, looking to be the first to cross the finish line.

Among them will be 68 year-old Mike Levine; a retired salesman and Stage IV cancer patient.

Diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2015, Mike is well aware that his cancer is serious. “I have less than a one percent chance of making it five years, and since the diagnosis, I’m already two and a half years into it,” he told the San Diego news.

Despite these challenges, Mike has found a renewed sense of purpose.

As a two-time Ironman finisher, Mike was keen to complete the race again. All he needed was what his wife Jan describes as “the spark.” After meeting with fellow triathletes and Ironman champions, Levine set himself the task of preparing for his third – and final – Ironman race.

As a two-time Ironman finisher, Mike was keen to complete the race again. All he needed was “the spark,” his wife Jan recounts. After meeting with fellow triathletes and Ironman champions, Levine set himself the task of preparing for his third – and final – Ironman race.

Started in 1977 as a way to challenge athletes, Ironman has spread worldwide and is unanimously viewed as one of the most difficult sporting events on the planet.

Typically, athletes must qualify for the race, which takes place every year in Kona, Hawaii.

But because Mike has been undergoing chemotherapy and has not been training, he had to request a special ambassador slot to be able to participate in the race. 

Ironman Cancer
Mike in training.

In his letter to Ironman, Mike wrote: “I’m looking for the Ironman to help me close the door gracefully, but with passion on a wonderful life. More importantly, I am looking to bring hope, inspiration and awareness to an undeserved disease sorely in need of support.”

Mike still gets teary-eyed when he watches the video where his ambassador slot was announced.

“I’m gonna go out and do what I want and not let cancer control me,” he said.

We’ll be watching closely for Mike’s finish-line moment this October.

From all of us at Live Better With, our sincerest congratulations, Mike! We’re rooting for you. 

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