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March 8, 2012
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – A 60-year-old man being treated with proton therapy for prostate cancer is one of the estimated 20,000 runners participating in Saturday’s 35th annual Gate River Run in Jacksonville, Fla. It is the largest 15K in the U.S.
Jim Samuelson, a resident of Ocala, Fla., started training on Feb. 1, the first day in his 39 proton therapy treatment plan. His daily training included a six-mile run and a one-hour spin class at the gym. When he competes on Saturday, March 10, he will have completed 27 of his treatments.
Proton therapy is a unique form of radiation therapy that targets tumors and reduces risk of treatment side effects. Proton therapy is shown to be an effective treatment for prostate cancer with patients reporting excellent quality of life following treatment. Jacksonville is home to the only proton therapy facility in the Southeast – the University of Florida Proton Therapy Institute.
Samuelson said when he decided to come to Jacksonville for proton therapy, he wanted to use the time away from his busy life as a business owner in a positive way. So he set three goals for himself. First, get back into a personal fitness regimen. Second, renew his long-time support of nonprofits seeking a cancer cure. Third, promote men’s health and increase awareness of prostate cancer.
He signed up for the Gate River Run, both as a runner and a volunteer, to motivate himself to get fit. He is spending today and tomorrow at the registration tables where runners pick up their race numbers. He plans to participate in the Livestrong Challenge, an endurance bike ride to raise funds for cancer cure with bike racing champion and cancer survivor Lance Armstrong, in Austin, Texas this October. And, he has started a blog about his experience with prostate cancer and proton therapy (http://jimsprostateblog.wordpress.com/). UF Proton Therapy Institute is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization affiliated with the UF College of Medicine, dedicated to delivering state-of-the-art cancer treatment and setting new standards for treating and curing cancer. The cancer treatment facility houses both conventional radiation and proton therapy, and delivers proton therapy to 110 patients a day. For more information about the UF Proton Therapy Institute, please visit www.floridaproton.org, or call toll-free 877-686-6009.