From “Sex and the City” star and “real-life Tarzan” dying to a man planning to swim the English Channel to raise cancer funds, here is what is happening in the cancer space this week.
Willie Garson, known for his role portraying Stanford Blatch in “Sex and the City,” died at age 57 this week. It was revealed, according to People, that Garson had pancreatic cancer and was surrounded by family during his death.
Garson’s son, Nathen, posted about his father on Instagram Tuesday.
"I love you so much papa. Rest In Peace and I'm so glad you got to share all your adventures with me and were able to accomplish so much," he wrote. “I'm so proud of you. I will always love you, but I think it's time for you to go on an adventure of your own. You'll always be with me. Love you more than you will ever know and I'm glad you can be at peace now. You always were the toughest and funniest and smartest person I've known. I'm glad you shared you're love with me. I'll never forget it or lose it.”
Mario Cantone, the actor who portrayed Garson’s on-screen husband, also shared a heartfelt note about his costar’s death via social media.
"I couldn't have had a more brilliant TV partner. I'm devastated and just overwhelmed with sadness," Cantone wrote on Instagram. "Taken away from all of us way soon. You were a gift from the gods sweet Willie. Rest …I love you."
Garson also had roles in “John from Cincinatti,” “White Collar,” “Hawaii Five-O,” and other films and TV series.
The last post he shared on Twitter read, “Be kind to each other......Always. Love to all. Approach kindness,” and was posted on Sept. 4.
Ho Van Lang lived in the Vietnamese jungle for four decades after he initially fled there for safety during the Vietnam War in 1972. This week, he died from cancer at age 52.
Lang spent many years living in the wild with his father, Ho Van Than, after half of his family died from an American bomb set off during the war. He was just two years old when he and his father left to live in the jungle. During their time there, Lang and Than had minimal human contact and spent their days farming corn, eating plants and wild animals and living in a timber hut.
In 2013, the pair returned to civilization because Than’s health was on the decline – several years later, in 2017, he died at age 86.
In November 2020, Lang was diagnosed with late-stage liver cancer. Lang’s friend, explorer Alvaro Cerezo, shared his belief that his death may have occurred sooner due to a poor diet and the stresses of modern society. Since returning to civilization, Lang had been “eating processed foods and sometimes even drinking alcohol,” Cerezo told Firstpost.
Tom Minnock, 58, is a record-setting marathon swimmer hoping to raise money for the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation this month. After a close friend, Jim Grimm, died from leiomyosarcoma in Jan. 2020, Minnock became set on paying tribute to him in the form of a long-distance swim in his honor – which is how he decided to take on swimming across the English Channel.
Through “Swim for Jim,” Minnock has a goal of raising $10,000 for the National Leiomyosarcoma Foundation. He plans to complete the swim between Sept. 25 and Oct. 5, depending what the weather allows and when.
“I pray for calm water, no sea creatures and safe swimming,” Minnock told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Minnock became the oldest person to swim across Lake Erie in 2018, swimming from Ontario, Canada, to Pennsylvania. He is also a former Ironman triathlete. In preparation for crossing the channel – which is 21 miles across at its shortest stretch – he began training with swim coach Carol Breiter, practicing interval training to build cardio and lung strength and swimming in a cold pool to get adjusted to the cold temperature of the Channel.
"Many struggle with the mental unknown factors of not knowing when the weather will allow a swim, not knowing what the changing ocean waves and conditions are," Breiter said. "Then there are the tides that are three to five miles per hour that affect where the finish line will be."
Three of Minnock’s friends will travel in a boat beside him across the channel to offer support as needed.
Kian Faghih, 11, has rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), which is a rare type of cancer that forms in soft tissue such as skeletal muscle or hollow organs. Faghih’s cancer originated in another part of his body and spread to his lungs. According to CBS Los Angeles, the doctors told his father, Jamshid Faghih, that there were no more options.
However, Jamshid reached out to Dr. Erlinda Gordon at the Sarcoma Oncology Center in Santa Monica, California, about an experimental treatment.
The treatment was called DeltaRex-G and is an innovative gene-targeted therapy. Faghih has been receiving infusions for nearly three weeks now with minimal side effects.
“It will go (to the tumor) and nowhere else, so it doesn’t cause collateral damage,” Gordon explained. “What it does is it sends the message to the cancer cell to stop dividing. It’s not only the cancer cells themselves that DeltaRex-G kills. It also kills the blood supply of the tumor.”
Faghih is the youngest patient to receive the therapy and will receive his last infusion this week.
“It feels great, it’s like a miracle for us,” Jamshid said.
For more news on cancer updates, research and education, don’t forget to subscribe to CURE®’s newsletters here.