Cancer diagnosis spurs Kingsport man to action

Nick Shepherd • Aug 1, 2013 at 3:05 PM

A local man plans to host a four-hour spin-a-thon this Saturday and bicycle 100 miles next weekend all for one cause — fighting cancer.

Kingsport’s Kevin McGlone is trying to raise money to benefit cancer research and treatment. He has a reason to work so hard to fight cancer: He survived it himself.

“I felt like I needed to earn those donations besides just having a cancer diagnosis,” McGlone said. “So last fall I bought a bike for the first time since my 12th birthday ... I bought that bike with the intent to ride 100 miles.”

McGlone was diagnosed with colon cancer in September 2010. It was a complete shock.

One day he noticed some blood in his stool, which alarmed him enough to visit his doctor to get checked out. The doctor said it could be anything but to be safe sent McGlone to a gastroenterologist, who then sent him for a colonoscopy.

McGlone expected the outcome wouldn’t be a big deal — maybe an ulcer. He was still groggy following his colonoscopy but knew something was wrong when his wife became hysterical while talking to the doctor at the foot of his bed.

“I kind of heard that word for the first time,” McGlone said. “Foggy as I was from the anesthesia, I said, ‘Wait, I have cancer?’ It was just like I got run over by a truck.”

His thoughts immediately went to his family and his two young sons at the time.

Most colon cancer is diagnosed in people in their 50s. McGlone was 31. Most colon cancer patients have some family history. McGlone had no family history of colon cancer.

He had to go through almost a grieving process following his cancer diagnosis. But eight days later, he and his wife were in Nashville for a consultation at Vanderbilt.

He had surgery in January 2011 and a follow-up procedure that fall. His cancer has been in remission since that time.

McGlone considers himself one of the lucky ones because he got his chemotherapy port removed.

While undergoing treatment, he saw a lot of cancer patients and a lot of pain. Once his own cancer was in remission, he began working with organizations to help fight the cruel disease.

McGlone began by walking in Relay for Life. He did that for two years, but felt he needed to earn the donations he was getting.

McGlone discovered an Ohio-based organization called Pelotonia, which will host the bike ride in which he and a small team, including his father and brother, will ride 100 miles.

He liked Pelotonia so much because 100 percent of its proceeds go to benefit the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

To date his team has raised more than $16,000 and all of it goes to Pelotonia.

Still, McGlone wanted to do more, so he hooked up with Tyler Ramey from the YMCA. Ramey has been instrumental in helping set up the spin-a-thon, McGlone said.

The event is open to the community, welcoming both Y members and potential members. The event will take place Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Guests can sign up for a single session or all four sessions. A minimum donation of $10 is required per session.

To register for the spin-a-thon, call the Kingsport YMCA at (423) 247-9622 or visit the front desk.

McGlone hopes that by helping raise money for research, his kids won’t ever have to hear the words he heard: “You have cancer.”

“My primary motivation is twofold: my kids and the hope that they don’t have to live in a world where cancer carries such a negative connotation,” he said.

Visit the Pelotonia website for more information about the organization.

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