Paralympian Monica Bascio Reveals Cancer Treatment and Possible Return to Competition
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, October 12, 2015 – Five-time World Champion and Paralympic medalist, Monica Bascio announced today that she has been battling colon cancer, but is regaining her health and hinted she may be considering entering the sport of triathlon.
Following a diagnosis of colon cancer in August, 2014, which was discovered through screening, Bascio had surgery in September, followed by six months of chemotherapy. The 46-year old athlete relied on her winning approach as an athlete to help get through tough times.
“I’ve spent my life overcoming challenges, and I guess you could say its part of my DNA,” said Bascio. “Everything I’ve ever done is about setting a goal and achieving it, and this situation is no different: my goal is to beat cancer and not let it get a grip on me, or my family.”
“I’ve never met anybody as tough as Monica, and – although there have been some pretty difficult days and weeks over the last 12 months – I’ve always known that if anybody can win the fight against cancer, it’s Monica. She’s handled the whole situation way better than I have, and that’s just the way she approaches everything: head-on,” said Ian Lawless, Bascio’s husband and coach, who is also a High Performance Director at the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Paralympic Division.
Next weekend, October 17-18, Bascio will participate in the Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen, a run, walk and cycle fundraising experience in Lewiston, Maine benefitting the Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing. Bascio will be participating as one of the professional athletes on hand, and it will be her first official outing on the handcycle since her cancer diagnosis.
“Participating in sports, and particularly riding a bike, has always kept me healthy and I am thrilled to get back out on the road, particularly for such a great cause,” said Bascio. “I wouldn’t say I’ve been ‘training’ really, but I’ve been out riding my bike the last 4-5 weeks and it feels awesome.”
Bascio, the U.S. Olympic Committee’s Paralympic Sportswoman of the year in 2013, is a two-sport Paralympian in cross-country skiing and cycling. After retiring in 2014 following the Sochi Paralympic Games, she planned to take some time off and contemplate her next endeavor. “Before my [colon cancer] diagnosis, I was considering taking-on the Ironman,” said Bascio. “I don’t think my battle with cancer should change that. Right now, I’m feeling better everyday, and working out is a big reason why. Who knows, maybe I’ll keep going and tackle Kona next year!”
Before Bascio earns a spot at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, HI, she would need to qualify for the only North American women’s spot available, at a 70.3 Ironman race in Lubbock, TX next June. That race is a “half-Ironman” with a 1.2-mile swim, 56-mile bike, and 13.1-mile “run” which would be handled via a racing wheelchair for Bascio. Should she qualify for the worlds in Kona, Bascio would have to race double the distance she would race in Lubbock. Like everything else, the possibility of such a challenge doesn’t phase Bascio at all.
“Next week, I’m going to ride 50 miles for the first time all year, but I’m guessing it will go by pretty fast. I mean after all, I’m riding it with Patrick Dempsey! After that, maybe I’ll keep training, even without Patrick.” said Bascio with a smirk.
For more information about Monica Bascio, her athletic career, and her battle with cancer, visit her website: monicabascio.net, or catch-up with her on twitter: @mbascio.
For more information about the Dempsey Challenge presented by Amgen, visit: dempseychallenge.org