Montgomery County Cancer Survivor Celebrates Spot In Major Endurance Event

CBS PHILADELPHIA | Jim Melwert


(credit: Derek Fitzgerald)

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A Montgomery County man who became the first cancer survivor and heart transplant recipient to ever finish a full-Ironman distance race now has a ticket to take part in one of the most prestigious athletic events on the planet.

Four years ago, Derek Fitzgerald spent the holidays in the hospital in need of a life-saving transplant after the chemotherapy that saved him from non-Hodgkins lymphoma destroyed his heart.

This year, in addition to celebrating his daughter’s first Christmas, the 41-year-old Fitzgerald is also celebrating word that he’s won a spot at the starting line for the 2015 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in October, beating out dozens of finalists to go with the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.

“Team in Training is the group that trained me for my first half marathon,” he says. “They were the group that trained me for my first 100-mile bike ride, they were the group that trained me for my first triathlon.” Continue reading
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