Montreal’s Sylvain Gagnon is a melanoma patient and ran the TCS New York Marathon November 3rd. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2010 and at that time slowly discovered a love for running.
“It was a fantastic experience, it was unbelievable and the crowd was great,” said Sylvain. “It’s a huge event and was worth the four and half hours, I was so happy to be able to do it. I wasn’t even supposed to be here, so I try to enjoy every moment.”
The 62-year-old was diagnosed with melanoma in 2010. The prognosis wasn’t good at the time, survival rate was low. But after undergoing new treatments and surgeries in 2013-2014, Gagnon is now in remission with no detectable signs of cancer.
Gagnon worked for a long time as an orthopedic surgeon but when diagnosed with cancer decided to change his professional goals to personal ones. He feels exercising and lifestyle changes have made the difference in his ability to cure and recovery from disease.
“I’m still improving even at my age,” said Gagnon. “I used exercise, the way I see it when you exercise you end up eating better, sleeping better and you even use it as a form of meditation. I feel great.”
He also credits cancer research for the fact that he’s still here today. Gagnon raises money when doing marathons so that even greater leaps can be made with research. He’s also competed in triathlons and ironmans.
“In my work I’m supposed to help people that have a health problem,” said Gagnon. “I want to show people that I can go through this and fortunately it did something great because I’m still here to be able to talk about.”
Through this whole journey, his wife Pascale Vezina has been by his side. She ran the New York Marathon with him and they both went at their own pace.
“She been through this with me, we love to participate and train for events together,” said Gagnon.
Gagnon has returned to work on a part-time basis. He wants to continue to do marathons and conquer some more of the big events like Chicago, London and Tokyo to name a few.
“It’s a drug once you start doing the marathons,” said Gagnong with a laugh.