March 17, 2009
Pluck of the Irish
In 2002, Patrick Murphy was told he didn’t have long to live. Diagnosed with level 4 cutaneous melanoma with positive lymph nodes, he was advised to get his affairs in order. What the doctors probably didn’t have in mind was biking. However, they did not take into account Pat’s extraordinary emotional, spiritual and physical strength. In 2004, after several surgeries and Interferon treatment, he cycled 6,000 kilometres. You can imagine that the only time he looks back is when he tells his story to people like the PMCQ on a clear blue St. Patrick’s Day morning.
Introduced by Michel Leroux, his best friend and his wife’s ex-husband, Patrick Murphy came to talk about Pedal Against Cancer, which grew from a promise: once he was better, Patrick and Michel would bike across Canada together. In 2008, they did it. And so far they have raised $280,000 in support of five major Canadian research centres: the Alberta Cancer Foundation, the BC Cancer Foundation, the Segal Cancer Center, the Princess Margaret Foundation and the QEII Foundation.
Patrick Murphy has given the world inspiration and a whole lot more. In 1998, ten years after working for world-renowned racecar driver Arnie “the Boston Strangler” Karp, Patrick donated a kidney to the ailing dragster. Then, in 2002, while vacationing in California and attending the wedding of Karp’s son, Patrick got the call that would change everything. He told no one, completed his vacation and flew back to Canada.
Evidently forgetting who he was talking to, the first doctor said not to bother with treatment. It was a lost cause. The end. Go have fun. After one year of chemo, three surgeries, 165 injections and 365 days of 103° fever, the fun was only beginning. Inspired by his hero, Lance Armstrong, Patrick embraced the idea of living. “If I gave up, what example would my son have to go on in life?”
And he embraced the best meds he could find: “… an extraordinary network of friends and family.” Oh yeah, and he ate a lot of oatmeal.
Patrick Murphy is an inspiration to more than just cancer patients. He’s the guy who inspires everyone to get out of bed in the morning, “… and take it one step at a time.” His first objective was to simply get out of bed and sit at the kitchen table. Later, the objective became getting out of bed and cycling across Canada. “When you go across the country, I found it a lot like dealing with cancer.” Your first shock is leaving Vancouver and crossing the Rockies. “The first mountain range was the diagnosis. The second was the surgeries and treatment. The Prairies is when you are at home trying to deal with it. And as I got further across the country, I got closer to my friends and family… day by day, one pedal stroke at a time.”
For more about Patrick and his PAC adventure, visit www.pedalagainstcancer.ca