Oct 27, 2008 by Ryan Massey
This dude is going to run a marathon?
It is hard to believe, but this coming April will mark the 10 year anniversary of my first remission from Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. I have long been acutely aware that my chances for survival would have been greatly decreased had I been diagnosed just a few years earlier, and that one of the reasons my odds were so improved is the work that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has been doing for the past 60 years.
To celebrate my damn good fortune, I want to raise as much money as I can to help the Society continue its mission of cancer research and support for those with blood cancers. It also seems appropriate to celebrate life by challenging my body and mind in an entirely new way.
When I was first diagnosed with Leukemia, I was 23 years old, and my band American Steel had just signed with Lookout Records. We were planning to make a record and tour continuously. I hadn't been feeling quite right for a bit, but was convinced that it was just due to partying with friends, smoking, drinking, etc. But scant weeks after signing the contract, I found myself unable to climb a flight of stairs without stopping to catch my breath. I had so few red blood cells in my system that I could hear my heart pounding in my ears as it desperately tried to deliver enough oxygen to my system.
After being diagnosed, I started a three-year-long chemotherapy regimen. During the first, most intensive period of treatment, we managed to record the album for Lookout (Rogue's March) during the week or so that I was able to be out of the hospital each month. After I finished the toughest part of the chemo, we went back on the road and traveled the world with a veritable pharmacy of medications, hypodermic needles, and frequent stops for blood tests.
Fast forward to the present: I'm 33, I met and married a kick-ass lady, made many more records with both Amsteel and Communique, and am lucky enough to live in a great place in my favorite city, San Francisco. I have also been lucky enough to see two nieces and two nephews come into the world, become a part owner of an awesome recording studio, and continue to travel with a group of dudes I have been friends with since high school. My good fortune is nearly absurd.
Please help me give something back to the Leukemia Society (specifically) and the great karmic pool (generally). Any donation is greatly appreciated, and will help me on my way to the fundraising goal of $4,080. I am donating what I can to get things started (and so y'all know I'm not just bucking for a trip to Rome!).
I will be adding to this website regularly throughout my training, so keep coming back for reports on my training and fundraising goals.
Thanks for your support in this endeavor, and for the tremendous love and support that was shown to me by so many during my illness. Peace and love to you all,
ps. No donation is too small and all donations are tax-deductible!