The Boston Marathon attack may have shaken us, but it is not stopping athletes from pressing on to the next challenge.
It's that same will to fight that is at the core of three local athletes, who have faced death and won. They are all members of the local Sunrise Triathlon Club which played no small part in their recovery.
Bryan Patchen didn't let thyroid cancer keep him down.
"It was a shock and when you hear those words you have cancer it doesn't matter if it's treatable or not," recalled Patchen.
He caught the cancer early, but radioactive treatment was unbearable.
"I felt horrible," said Patchen. "I could barely walk up a flight of stairs."
Patchen's lowest point in recovery was actually his turning point
"The thought that was always in the back of my mind actually do a triathlon someday and that was my wake up call. It was some day," said Patchen.
Fellow athlete Mike Kuhr had no idea he had testicular cancer until one night when he though he was having a heart attack. A race form of cancer developed in his chest.
Kuhr fought hard through aggressive surgery to remove the large tumor. Ten weeks of agonizing chemotherapy was next. All the white, his fellow teammates at Sunrise were cheering and praying for him.
"Everyone wore yellow bracelets in my honor and wrote notes on it," said Kuhr
His determination brought him back, and his training kept him strong.
"I would say triathlon pretty much saved my life," said Kuhr
Johnathan Martin found out he had a severe form of Crohn's disease three years ago, and it could have cost him his life if he didn't catch the signs early.
"Yeah, I was scared at first," said Martin.
He was a star athlete at Centenary College when his close-call came calling.
"I just started getting these stomach pains out of nowhere," said Martin.
He doubled over right in the middle of a race and was forced to be sidelined or else risk his life.
"I could have hurt myself and died a couple of weeks ago or a month ago," said Martin.
Competition brought all of these men back to life. It's also helped other fellow teammates who faced similar hardships. All of their survival stories brought them closer together like a big family.
For Patchen, Kuhr and Martin, they have become masters of pushing themselves beyond their limits and not recognizing words like can't, won't or quit.
And that's something all of us can admire.
"Don't ever give up because you know there's always just get across that finish line. Keep fighting. Keep running and you'll make it," said Kuhr.
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