Kyle Hilborn was diagnosed with Leukemia on July 12, 2000 at the age of nine. For his father, Bob Hilborn, watching his son battle Leukemia was a painful experience, which inspired him to complete over 20 endurance events in honor of his son. The family motto is “You think a marathon is hard? Try chemo!”
Kyle, a budding endurance athlete in his own right, says that the best way to cope is to think about cancer not as a disease, but as an opportunity. He sees cancer as a gift. “There are always two sides to everything. Cancer is no different,” Kyle says. “You can be in the mindset of ‘Okay, I have cancer I’m going to die,’ or ‘Okay, I have cancer, now let’s beat this.’ I never thought I wasn’t going to beat it which allowed me to realize how really amazing the cancer experience has been. However, I don’t recommend trying it.”
On September 18, 2003, after 33 months of chemotherapy, Kyle completed his course of treatments and began the painstaking process of periodically undergoing testing to ensure he remained cancer-free. This year, Kyle is preparing to celebrate one of the most important milestones of survivorship – five years marks the point at which a cancer patient is considered “cured.” To mark the occasion, Kyle and his father will be cycling side-by-side to complete the Tri-State Seacoast Century in New Hampshire on September 20, 2008, exactly 5 years after the cessation of Kyle’s chemo. They are doing the event as part of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training (TNT) program. Bob is the team’s coach, and Kyle will be training and raising funds for cancer research and patient support along with the rest of the TNT team.
As part of the CT Chapter’s TNT program, the Hilborns are part of a life-saving team. Since its inception in 1988, more than 360,000 participants raised more than $850 million to help fund blood cancer research and provide services and support to patients and their families.
TNT prepares approximately 39,000 participants a year to run or walk a full or half marathon, complete a triathlon, or ride a century (a 100-mile cycling event). Every participant receives four to five months of personalized coaching and a supportive team environment to prepare them for the event. In return, they raise money to help find cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma and provide critical services to patients and their families.
“Every person who joins Team In Training helps bring us closer to finding cures,” said John Clark, Executive Director, CT Chapter.
Training for the fall events, including the Seacoast Century, already started. To join the team to ride with Bob and Kyle, or to run, walk or ride for a cure at another fall event, call 203.427.2061 or visit www.teamintraining.org/ct.