RSF cancer survivor celebrates fundraising effort
Scott Thurman to cycle 55 miles in Padres Pedal the Cause
Rancho Santa Fe resident Scott Thurman copes with an enemy within: Cancer.
“At this point, I’ve come to realize that the cancer is going on this journey with me,” the 62-year-old business owner said in a recent interview.
Hope for a cure motivates Thurman to participate in Padres Pedal the Cause, the primary fundraising event for Curebound. The nonprofit is an umbrella group uniting Padres Pedal the Cause and the Immunotherapy Foundation.
Thurman said Pedal the Cause “seemed to me like a pretty good cause and it benefited the institution where I had my treatments.
“So it was just a good way to give back. It’s near and dear to my heart — not only mine but there’s a lot of friends who’ve had loved ones die from cancer recently or are battling it right now.”
For the sixth time, Thurman will be participating on April 9 in Pedal the Cause, Curebound’s annual cycling challenge supported by the San Diego Padres.
Founded by Rancho Santa Fe residents Bill Koman and his wife, Amy, Padres Pedal the Cause has generated more than $15 million for cancer research since its inception in San Diego in 2013, according to the Curebound website.
The biking event offers participants routes of various lengths launching from Petco Park. Information on the event can be found at curebound.org. Entertainment, services, food and beverages are part of the festivities. The one-day celebration is on course to host at least 2,000 participants and generate more than $1.7 million.
Thurman says his cancer and the treatments he has experienced have not impaired his ability to stay physically strong.
On April 9, he plans to do a 55-mile ride. It will start from the stadium, go over the Coronado Bridge, pass through Coronado down to Imperial Beach, and return through Chula Vista to San Diego.
Despite the ongoing threat to his health, Thurman maintains a bright outlook with the support of family and friends.
“Initially it was hard for everybody,” Thurman said of his wife and three children, who are now adults. “They were used to seeing their strong, healthy father and it was the first time they’d seen me in that situation of vulnerability.
“But like me, they’ve gotten more accustomed to what to expect and we’re leveling out the highs and lows.”
A native of Los Angeles, Thurman arrived in this area in 1978 to attend SDSU. After graduating, Thurman operated a successful company located in Vista and stayed in this region with his family, moving to Rancho Santa Fe in 1996.
When he was 50, a friend’s son was hired by an insurance company. As a favor, Thurman agreed to buy a policy, which required him to pass a physical.
“When the test came back, it said I was uninsurable, which was weird because I was in good health,” he said.
He was diagnosed with a high-grade prostate cancer and had surgery to remove the organ.
“I had good success and the cancer was gone, I thought, forever,” he said.
Eight years later, tests revealed that cancer cells remained present in his system and were potentially spreading. He received radiation treatments and the cancer seemed to have gone away.
“Last year it came back again,” Thurman said. “This time it had metastasized in my lymph.”
Once again, Thurman had to undergo a radiation regimen.
“Each time I had a procedure, I always felt like, ‘Well this will do it. This will take care of it. The cancer will be gone,’” he said.
“Before my last treatment, an oncologist told me that my cancer wasn’t curable, but it was treatable. To be honest, that was a shocking thing to hear as I always thought I would get past this.”
Now, however, Thurman said he has accepted the situation.
“I look at it as my life’s a little bit of a road trip and cancer’s riding in the back seat,” he said. “It’s not going to give me directions and it’s certainly not going to mess with the radio. But it’s going to be there.”
He credited his wife, family and friends for helping him to maintain an optimistic attitude. He frequently converses with others with similar stories.
“Men call me from all over San Diego to talk about what I’ve experienced,” he said. “It helps me too. It’ provides some calmness to talk about it.”
Meanwhile, Thurman nourishes hope that the panacea will materialize, thanks to efforts by the likes of Curebound and Padres Pedal the Cause.
“One of the reason’s I’m so passionate about Pedal is all the money goes towards research to find a cure,” Thurman said.
“I look at my treatments as just me kicking the can a little bit farther down the road in hopes that the money that funds research and trials will eventually lead to a cure. Then, maybe I won’t have cancer in the backseat of my life. It will be gone forever.”
He is ready to ride.
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