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Teams try to beat cancer up the stairs

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Oregon City resident Becky Krueger, who's recovering from lung cancer, trains to climb 40 floors and help raise money for the American Lung Association as part of the Cross Fit Oregon City climbing team.North Clackamas residents will turn out for the “Fight For Air” stair-climbing event on Sunday when they will race to the top floor of downtown Portland’s U.S. Bancorp Tower to raise awareness for the millions of Americans who suffer from lung disease.

Twelve years ago, Oregon City resident Becky Krueger was diagnosed with lung cancer. She is going through “round two” of fighting the cancer that is the top killer of both men and women in the United States, surpassing prostate or breast cancers.

She had surgery soon after her diagnosis to remove part of her left lung, and she lost part of her right lung five years ago when tumors reappeared.

But she’s feeling confident about joining six co-workers she recruited at the Clackamas Remax to climb the state’s second-tallest building and help raise money for the American Lung Association.

“Yesterday I did 300 air squats, so I think I can make 40 floors,” she said.

More than a dozen members of the Cross Fit Oregon City climbing team will join Krueger, 47, who never did any exercising until becoming one of the gym’s first members in the spring 2011.

“I ate bad, and I never exercised, so for me now I feel like I’m stabilizing,” she said.

She cooks most of her meals at home with seasonal ingredients, which she credits with reducing the size of her tumors.

by: SUBMITTED PHOTO - Milwaukie resident Kurt Shull, who died of lung cancer in August at age 50, is pictured with his dog, Joy.Steve Godoy of Milwaukie organized the “Friends of Kurt” climbing team, named for Milwaukie resident Kurt Shull, who died of lung cancer in August at age 50.

Godoy, 47, said Shull avoided smoking and was excising regularly until a few years ago when he was diagnosed.

“Lung disease is really non-discriminatory — it doesn’t matter whether you’re in good shape or bad shape,” Godoy said.

Godoy’s 15-year-old son Joey is friends with Shull’s son Kelly at La Salle Catholic College Prep. Godoy put together a team that includes the friends and seven others linked to La Salle or Christ the King Catholic School, which are both located near the Clackamas Town Center.

Team members are Jamie Shull, Russ Vandehey, Charlie Vandehey, Scott Davis, Arden Davis, Paul Davis and Steve Swan. An 11th participant is Cameron Macmillan, a co-worker of Godoy’s, and they’re all looking forward to being involved with fundraising for a very serious national health problem.

Shull thought he was just recovering from bronchitis for months until a doctor diagnosed him with lung cancer, Godoy recalled.

“It was less than two years from when he found out he had lung cancer to when he passed away,” he said.

The symptoms are usually masked as something else like bronchitis or just a bad cough, so Godoy has taken to recommending that acquaintances screen for cancer if he notices they have a cough.

“I’ve told them, ‘I’m not trying to be morbid here, but you should go and check with your doctor and get a scan.’ At least one of them did end up taking my advice,” he said.

The stair-climb event, or as some like to call it, a “vertical foot race,” raises money for lung-cancer research, education and advocacy. It can be done by the serious athlete interested in the time trials, or by supportive friends, family and coworkers as part of weekend fun. All participants will receive a timing chip for the race and an opportunity to see their personal race results.

As part of her competitive spirit, Krueger will be trying for the shortest possible time and possibly placing in the top 10 of her category.

“I feel great, and I’m just kind of pushing through it,” she said. “Is all this a challenge for me? Absolutely. But I’m feeling better than I’ve ever been.”




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