Completing the 48.6-mile Dopey Challenge during Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna would have been impressive enough in its own right, but Ron Wertley, from Tampa, Fla., took things to another level. That’s because he took on the challenge of running the 5K, 10K, half marathon and full marathon in successive days while undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer.
Ron was first diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow, and given a 40-percent survival chance just after he completed the Dopey Challenge in 2018. Determined to keep his “perfect” status (he has run in every Dopey Challenge with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training and raised more than $22,000 to help support lifesaving research, patient support and education, and advocacy efforts that benefit blood cancer patients since 2014!), Ron continued to train for this year’s challenge while going through chemo.
Nearly a year of aggressive chemo treatments sent the cancer into remission, but December brought news that the cancer had returned, and with it comes a 30-day stint in the hospital and an aggressive chemo regimen to combat the disease again. But with the support of his 420 LLS Team In Training teammates, Ron completed his sixth Dopey Challenge, which is a testament to his fortitude, determination and grit.
Check out this video for more of Ron’s inspiring journey:
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And there’s still time to be a part of the next runDisney race weekend at Walt Disney World Resort! Visit runDisney.com to learn more about the Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend presented by Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals (Feb. 21-24) and Star Wars Rival Run Weekend presented by OtterBox (April 4-7).