Goofy and Inspiring: AICR Cancer Fighters of the Month

Gordon, Sarah (TeamAICR Coordinator) and Sam after the marathon

We’ve had many dynamic and inspirational runners on TeamAICR over the years, but we’ve never had a pair quite like the Big Sur International Marathon duo of cancer survivor Gordon McGill and his trainer, Sam Ditzell.  Their enthusiasm, candor, commitment, sense of humor, and above all, their deep friendship, are truly inspiring. They are also May’s Cancer Fighters of the Month.

Sam and Gordon met in 2008 when Sam helped Gordon and his wife train for the New York City Marathon.  After completing the marathon, Gordon continued working with Sam in the hopes of training for another race.

However, in 2009 Gordon was diagnosed with bladder cancer and endured multiple rounds of surgery and chemotherapy. Throughout his treatment he continued to train with Sam. “Some days Gordon couldn’t even get out of bed during the chemo, but he still only missed a couple of workouts,”  Sam remembers. “More than physical determination, Gordon managed to maintain such a positive, goofy, almost child-like attitude throughout his treatment.” Continue reading


AICR’s Cancer Fighter of the Month: Running Marathons

Tracy (on right) at the Chicago marathon

We hear so many inspiring stories here at AICR that we wanted to highlight some of the survivors, researchers, and others making a difference in cancer prevention and survivorship research. To kick off marathon season, our first AICR Cancer Fighter of the Month is a runner who became a part of TeamAICR five years ago.

In 2011, TeamAICR runners raised more than $65,000 for cancer research.

Tracy LosBañes was TeamAICR’s top individual fundraiser last year. Like many runners, Tracy came to AICR with a passion for running and, like most other runners, she has been touched by cancer: her father was diagnosed with cancer in 2007. Continue reading