65-year-old Jim Phillips is one of the original River Bank runners and ran the race for 33 consecutive years. He has recently been diagnosed with mesothelioma and is undergoing continual chemotherapy. Jim underwent brain surgery and Doctors removed part of his brain–the right cerebellum– which controls balance and equilibrium. He also had prostrate cancer, a hernia, has gone through bacterial meningitis and hydrocephalus and fights highly aggressive cancer. Did any of these severe medical issues stop him from taking part in this year’s 5/3 event? As the saying goes, you can’t keep a good man down.
He and his wife Linda braved the humid and rainy day during race day walking hand in hand completing the 3.1 mile walk.
His wife knew he could go through with it. “He’s a fighter and just doesn’t give up,” she said.
The retired letter carrier always keeps a positive mental attitude to fight the aggressive cancer and stays in shape by exercising.
“I don’t cling to the past, I don’t dwell on the future. I enjoy every day and try to do as much as we can.”
Jim has lost over 100 pounds since all of his medical issues and looks forward to going to Iceland this summer with his wife and friends.
So how was the entire 5/3/ experience?
“I am so glad that I did this, I was very, very, tired the last half mile, but I completed it and that makes me very happy.”
His wife Linda was at his side the entire time.
“His legs got weak and they start buckling on him at the end of the race. The crowd and police officers could tell he was struggling, so they began cheering him on loudly with encouragement. The determination that he has is what has gotten him to this point. It was a really great experience for him,” she shared.
“Good Lord willing, and if his health is okay, yes we will be back and we will do it again,” Linda concluded enthusiastically.