David Bevilacqua thought he had everything. He was working for a great company doing a job he loved. He had a wonderful wife and daughter. He was happy. Except…just one small, minor thing. A bit of shoulder pain that wasn’t going away. Eventually, he decided to see his doctor about it, and suddenly everything changed.
On Halloween of 2006, David was diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a very rare form of blood cancer. He was also diagnosed with arthritis, osteoporosis, and osteopenia. Rather than let this news affect him, David responded with the same kind of positive attitude he always had. “I looked at my doctor and asked, so how do we get rid of it?” David remembers.
Unfortunately, while David’s type of lymphoma was treatable, it was not curable. So for the next couple of years, his doctors monitored the progression of his disease. “In 2007 and 2008 the symptoms started intensifying. Soon we were in 2009 and things starting going nuts,” David says. Among those symptoms? He lost 50% of his hearing, he was tired all the time, and his legs felt like they were dipped in ice water with a truck parked on his feet 24 hours a day. The time had come for action.
David started treatment in August of 2009. His treatment, which included taking weekly doses of Rituxan, a drug developed in part by LLS funding, finally ended on January 22, 2010. That same day he received a phone call from a close friend, Mary, letting him know that she had just signed up for Team In Training with her daughter, and that the two of them would be training for a half marathon in his honor while raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the very organization that helped save his life.
David was so touched by this that he immediately decided to sign up as well. In spite of protests from his well-meaning friends and family, he went out and joined the our Greater San Francisco Bay Area marathon team and began training for his first event, the Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. When his family realized they wouldn’t be able to stop him, they changed tactics and signed up with him. And this was just the beginning…
For more on David’s story, check out his exclusive write-up on the NorCal Runner online magazine here.
David’s motto has always been: “Bring it on!” He turns and faces his disease head on, refusing to give in, ignoring the pain in his feet and legs (the feeling of icy cold legs and crushed feet has never gone away), and coming back to TNT for season after season, and marathon after marathon. If you look in the dictionary under the word “inspiration,” you’ll see his picture. Don’t believe me? Read the rest of his amazing story here. And once you’re done being inspired, join David and the rest of the Team and create your own amazing story this summer season. We’ll be waiting. After all, cancer isn’t going anywhere…yet. And neither are we.
Teams are forming now for our exciting summer season events! Stop by an info meeting near you to learn more, or you can contact us, call us at (800) 78-TEAM, or email SFTNTinfo@lls.org for more info. Go Team!