NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – This weekend a man from Waxahachie sets out on a unique quest. Scott Schlee is a pancreatic cancer survivor who is coming up on the 5-year anniversary of his diagnosis. But he’s decided to use the date as inspiration to give back.
A few years ago, Scott was pretty much a couch potato and never imagined he would be running 5K races. But, all that changed, when he was diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.
He remembers the day he was diagnosed, like it was yesterday. “Immediately I started shortness of breath and breaking down, and then, I saw both my parents. It was the most heartbreaking thing I had ever gone through.”
It turns out Scott’s cancer was less aggressive than most. That gave him time for treatment, and time to live life to the fullest.
“I flew in a helicopter. I went rock climbing. I went on a date with the first girl I ever had a crush on. Yeah, I had a long bucket list… that gets longer everyday,” he said.
Scott is one of the lucky ones. Only about nine-percent of people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer make it to the 5-year mark. That number hasn’t really changed in 40 years, but progress is being made. Every year there are more and more survivors.
Scott now has a new item on his bucket list the DFW PurpleStride 5K. It’s a fundraiser for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, but he’s not just running the one in Dallas. His goal is to run in all 55 of the events — across the country.
Scott says if things go as scheduled it will take about three years for hi to run all the races. “You get a new lease on life when somebody tells you, you have stage 4 cancer of any kind. You go, okay, I need to make the best of every day when I wake up.”
So these days Scott is running, hoping to make a difference, hoping to raise awareness and money, and hoping that he beats the odds making it to year five and beyond.
“Steve Jobs, who had the same kind of pancreatic cancer I do, once said we are here to put a ding in the universe. This is my opportunity to put a ding in the universe.”