Through the Eyes of the Survivors - ABC5 News Des Moines, IA

Through the Eyes of the Survivors

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Monday night we showed you the very first day of the Million Dollar Marathon, the starting line at the coast of the Pacific ocean.

Tuesday we continue the journey through the eyes and the legs of cancer survivors.

The Million Dollar Marathon has been inching across the country, following in the footsteps of Doctor Richard Deming through the Washington wilderness.

"This is a self–imposed pain and suffering.  Compared to the difficulties that many of my patients have gone through, this is nothing.  Pain in many ways is a privilege of the living," said Dr. Deming.

As a cancer doctor in Des Moines, Deming knows the strength and courage it takes to fight the disease.

He's also the founder of Above and Beyond Cancer, the group that organized the Million Dollar Marathon.

This is a relay that started at the Pacific Ocean and will go all the way to the Atlantic.

Dr. Deming treated Michael Brick's mother who died of lung cancer. Michael, an Iowa native, had his own fight several years before his mother was diagnosed.

"I was diagnosed with stage 2 colon cancer in July of 2000," he explained.

Michael beat his cancer and now wants to be part of efforts like the marathon to help raise awareness and raise money for cancer research and survivor programs.

"It's super positive for the cancer survivor community to know that other people care, you get a lot of strength from that. All of a sudden the next thing I know, I'm in a van and we're cruising the Washington countryside," Michael said.

Michael's daughter, Lucy, came along to be a part of this fun adventure. One of their handoffs was to a close friend and fellow survivor, Julie Hamilton.

"We're all there to help support each other.  I think we've all be through a lot," Jule said.

She first found out she had breast cancer 18 months ago, but now she's cancer free.

"Anybody who steps out of that van and onto the road, they're there because they want to give back or they want to do something.  It's not necessarily about the run.  It's the whole cancer journey," she said.

Doctor Deming says the spirit and sense of compassion is what this run from coast to coast is about.

"We talked about how it needed to be something that wasn't just crazy, but clearly incorporated the spirit of above and beyond cancer.  Which isn't to go out and do crazy things for the sake of doing crazy things.  It's to elevate the lives of people touched by cancer," he said.

If you'd like to learn more about the Million Dollar Marathon, click HERE.

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