The Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii is something most triathletes can only dream of, but for four-time cancer survivor and local Austinite Mike Thompson, it is now a reality.
At age 10, Thompson was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, a rare form of blood cancer found in children. While doctors told him his chances of survival were slim, Thompson was determined not to let the diagnosis get the best of him. Seventeen years and 76 operations later (including two bone marrow transplants and facial reconstruction surgery that replaced part of his jawbone with the fibula of his left leg) Mike is cancer-free and the proud winner of the “Kona Inspired” contest. Thompson's video, briefly detailing what motivates and inspires him to "tri", boasts over 232,000 views – more than enough to win his division of the contest and a paid trip to compete in the mother of all triathlons, the Kona Ironman.
Thompson states that he is grateful to all who voted and is now hoping to raise $10,000 dollars for the Go-Mitch-Go Foundation, a nonprofit founded by Austinite John Whitaker in memory of his son Mitchell, who passed away at age 10 due to acute myeloid leukemia. In addition to using social media and local events to help raise the money, Thompson will also continue his Mike's Moonlight Run, a monthly run that leaves from Jack & Adam's (his workplace) the evening of each full moon (this month's will be in late July).
In the meantime, we're sure Thompson will be hard at work training for his race in October, undoubtably sticking to his family motto: "“failure is not an option”.
Congratulations, Mike! To read more about Thompson's inspiring story, check out this story from Austin Fit's Octoboer 2010 issue: Mike Thompson: A True Ironman