Former British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill said that success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts. It seems like this quote was said for 44-year-old, Derek Fitzgerald. He is the man who has completed three marathons, four Half Ironman triathlons and five full Ironman triathlons. This can be a huge achievement for anyone but what if you come to know this man has achieved all this after beating cancer, surviving heart failure, and receiving a heart transplant.
When Fitzgerald turned 30, doctors removed a grapefruit size like tumor from his stomach and diagnosed him with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. According to the Mayo Clinic, more than 2,00,000 Americans are affected by lymphatic cancer. After undergoing chemotherapy for six years, he was then diagnosed with heart failure, which let him receive a heart transplant.
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Fitzgerald was overweight and sedentary before doctors diagnosed him with cancer. But after his surgery, he was given physical therapy which inspired him so much that after eight months he ran his first 5K. He didn't stop there and finished his first half marathon. Thereafter his eagerness to achieve more in life only grew higher. He is also the first in America who competed in Ironman triathlon after receiving heart transplant.
"I have to listen to my body. I have to be smart about it. I take what my body gives me," Derek Fitzgerald said. Not only this, he has also founded Recycledman Foundation, which is a non-profit organisation and is meant for heart diseases, cancer and transplant research.
Fitzgerald has saved all his medals in a hope that one day he will give them to a loved one of his heart donor.