Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A Midlands man is fighting cancer and climbing to new heights to raise awareness and funds for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.
Gary Rudman says, "At 9:09 that day I answered the phone. At that point I only heard one thing. That you have a mass the size of a softball on your sacrum."
Two years ago that was the call that set the veteran and avid cyclist on a two year ride, battling cancer. He tells News 19 that Doctors told him, "Don't worry the tumor be effective with radiation and it should just melt away with radiation."
But it didn't. Even after 16 rounds of radiation, no change. And after another 10 Rounds, still no change. Rudman says, "It did nothing." then he says he was told, "The protocol was to wait for it to develop into full blown Multiple Myeloma and then treat it aggressively."
Not accepting that answer, Rudman went to MD Anderson in Houston for another opinion. His wife Robin, explains, "But the good news is, they caught it so early. Where as the folks at Emory had said to us, 'just wait.' I'm glad we didn't wait because at the level that they detected, it it's far lower than when most people are diagnosed, so hopefully that gives Gary a good long life."
Now Rudman is facing a new challenge and that is to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro in February 2017. That's a six day trek, climbing more than 19,000 feet. He looks at that mountain just like he looked at cancer, he says, "Its something that will be conquered just like cancer you know it’s not gonna define who you are."
He says he hopes that by raising awareness and money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation that, "I won't have to come and get these infusions, I won't have to go to MD Anderson and I'll just be in remission and stay that way."
Rudman is one of six cancer patients with the Multiple Myoloma Foundation and is raising 10-thousand dollars for the trek up the mountain. He's participating in three drug trials to hopefully help find a cure. For more information, Just go to his Multiple Myoloma Research Foundation webpage.