Surviving cancer: Ed del Campo

Ed del Campo

Diagnosed with Papillary Thyroid Cancer in February 2002, a resilient Ed del Campo went through five surgeries and two rounds of radiation in a long path to recovery.

“Early on,” he said, “I read Lance Armstrong’s book, ‘It’s Not About the Bike,’ and found some parallel. And I thought ‘What has he got that I don’t have?’ Basically it’s fitness.”So began a journey that led del Campo to Riggs Klika and the Cancer Survivor Center.”I used to race bikes at [the age of] 25, and I decided to get back on the bike as my path to survivorship,” he said.His goal? Ride the Lance Armstrong Ride for the Roses.

Del Campo first contacted Carmichael Training Systems shortly after receiving treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., in 2004. During a business trip to Aspen, he met Klika, who then guided del Campo through intensive training.After baseline testing, del Campo mostly cycled on his own using a computer monitor that kept heart-rate records. His baseline improved, and he not only completed the 100-mile “Ride For The Roses” that year, he rode to a third-place finish in the 2005 Florida Masters Track Championship the following season. A humble del Campo says the accomplishments are secondary to “just being able to live.”

Del Campo’s battle with cancer was followed by the loss of a close friend to the disease, something that made del Campo reassess his life. Following a long-held dream, del Campo graduated from firefighter academy in July 2006 at the age of 43.The single father of two says, “I’m not working with a coach on the day-to-day, but I’m still using the disciplines and training in my life every day.”Just as Lance’s story helped him, del Campo says, “If my story can help anybody else then that’s great.” Charles Agar