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Saratoga Springs man focused on helping others after cancer diagnosis

November 21, 2018 01:16 PM

Cancer patients are usually on the receiving end of a fundraiser. However, one Saratoga Springs man who was diagnosed just last week is already planning to make good out of a bad situation.

It's not unusual to see Matt Riker running in the Saratoga Spa State Park. A couple years ago when the doctor told him he needed to take insulin, Riker told the doctor to give him a few months to get in shape. Fifty pounds later, he's super fit.

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However, he was recently having some stomach pain. It got worse a couple of weeks ago -- and at the urging of Lisa, his beloved wife of 25 years, he went to the hospital. They admitted him and ran some tests. They did a biopsy and determined it was pancreatic cancer.

"You look at what survival rates are for pancreatic cancer and I know I have a tough fight ahead of me," he said.

However, Riker's up for the challenge.

After he learned he had cancer, he told the doctor that he had already planned a seven-mile fun run with a half-dozen or so friends on December 1, encouraging them all to bring canned goods to stock the shelves of the food pantry at Franklin Community Center. The doctor gave the okay.

"He said if you can put up with the pain, you can go ahead and do the run," said Riker.

As word has spread, a lot of people are stepping up to join him, including those he's helped through his volunteering for charities.

"All he is ever doing is good for other people and the fact that he takes such a bad event and turns it into something good is not surprising," said Kari Cushing, the director of Franklin Community Center.

Riker doesn't want people to feel sorry for him. In fact he's telling friends that beating cancer is not about how long you survive, it's about how you live your life.

"I really have no regrets with how I've lived my life," he said. "I'm not going to let this disease take away who I am."

The December 1 timing is right for what Riker is calling the "Run of My Life." Once treatment begins, he won't be able to probably run seven miles – and the need to expand Franklin Community Center has never been greater.

You can just show up and run or walk, or you can make a donation to Franklin Community Center.

Just write "Run with Matt" in the notes.


MORE INFORMATION: Franklin Community Center donations

Credits

Mark Mulholland

Copyright 2018 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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