Cancer Survivor Wins Gold at Olympic Games

CURE, Fall 2012, Volume 11, Issue 3

Cancer Survivor Wins Gold at Olympic Games

Testicular cancer survivor Eric Shanteau won gold in the men’s swimming 4x100-meter medley relay at the London Olympics. He received his diagnosis shortly before competing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and has been in remission since September 2008. Other survivors competing in this year’s Games include Matt Emmons, who took bronze in the 50-meter three-position rifle competition, and beach volleyball player Jake Gibb.

Before Spartacus: Blood and Sand actor Andy Whitfield died of non-Hodgkin lymphoma on Sept. 11, 2011, he agreed to have his life filmed while he underwent treatment for his disease. The documentary, Be Here Now, is in production.

Susan Love, MD, breast cancer surgeon, researcher and advocate, received a diagnosis of leukemia in June during a routine blood test. She has stepped down from her duties at the Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation during treatment.

On June 26, writer and filmmaker Nora Ephron, 71, died of pneumonia related to acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Years ago, Ephron received a diagnosis of myelodysplastic syndrome, a disorder in which healthy blood cells are not produced, but her condition didn’t progress to AML until this year.

Rocker Jon Lord, 71, keyboardist of the band Deep Purple, died on July 16 of a pulmonary embolism following a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

In 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space as a crew member of the shuttle Challenger. After years of promoting science and engineering as careers, Ride, 61, died on July 23 of pancreatic cancer in La Jolla, Calif.

E! TV host and reality star Giuliana Rancic and her husband Bill welcomed a baby boy, Edward Duke, born via a gestational carrier (someone who brings an implanted embryo to term but isn’t related to the child). Rancic learned she had breast cancer while undergoing fertility treatment and subsequently had a double mastectomy late last year.

Comedian Tig Notaro took a unique route to disclosing her breast cancer diagnosis: She opened her stand-up routine in early August with the words, “Thank you, I have cancer, thank you.” While Notaro has been finding the comedy in her tragedy, she’s also been updating and sharing personal details via her podcast.

Renowned classical pianist Harvey LaVan “Van” Cliburn, 78, has received a diagnosis of advanced bone cancer. Cliburn rose to acclaim in 1958 when he won the first International Tchaikovsky Competition at the age of 23. He has since been the only classical musician to receive a ticker-tape parade in New York, has performed for every president since Harry Truman and lent his name to the Van Cliburn International Piano Competition.

Sherman Hemsley, 74, star of the television show The Jeffersons, died of lung cancer in his El Paso home on July 24. Known for creating the popular beloved character George Jefferson, Hemsley starred on the show for ten years and frequently made guest appearances (often in character) on modern sitcoms.

Actor Chad Everett, 75, died in Los Angeles of lung cancer on July 24. Having appeared on television and in films since the 1960s, Everett is best known as Dr. Joe Gannon of the drama Medical Center.

Mexican American actress Lupe Ontiveros, 69, died of liver cancer on July 26. Known for roles in Selena and Desperate Housewives, Ontiveros estimated that she played her signature role of a Hispanic maid more than 150 times in television and film.