Full post quoted below:

When you look at what Phil de Gruy has accomplished in the last six years — four sprint triathlons, two half marathons, a 50km race walk and a 50 mile ultramarathon — you wouldn’t know it’s the same guy who received two cancer diagnoses within less than two years of each other. Or that he was a guy who hated running.

Phil received his first diagnosis – Stage III colon cancer – in June 2015. He was 46 and had no family history of the disease.

The diagnosis came after hours of exams and tests in the emergency room at Ochsner Baptist. He’d been experiencing significant abdominal pain at times for about five months. The team told Phil he needed surgery.

Doctors removed 20% of his colon, and he went through 12 rounds of chemo.

Then 13 months later, during a routine scan, doctors found a mass in his lungs. They told him the mass was small, but it grew fast. It was stage IV metastatic colon cancer. He needed another surgery, and he likely had five years to live.

Two months passed between when doctors found the tumor and when he went in for his surgery. Phil decided he wasn’t going to do chemo — it was rough the first time and didn’t prevent his cancer from returning — and instead started reading and researching.

So he adopted a Mediterranean diet. He started endurance training. And he closed his restaurant of 10 years, Phil’s Grill, which cut down on his stress.

Eight months after his surgery, where doctors removed half of his left lung, Phil ran a half marathon. He has since run four sprint triathlons, another half marathon a 50km race walk and a 50 mile ultramarathon. He’s currently training for his second ultramarathon.

This past April marked five years cancer-free.

After running his first 50-mile race last October, Phil said he realized how blessed his family was to still have him around. He decided to start a nonprofit to help kids who have lost a parent to cancer and launched Running for Dreams on Sept. 1 of this year.

Phil is running in the New Orleans Ultramarathon on Oct. 1, and he’s using that as a kickoff fundraiser for his nonprofit.

He’s also now hosting a podcast called “Make It Count,” a mantra he and his family have lived by since his cancer diagnosis. The podcast, in which he and co-host Jennifer Maraist discuss life’s challenges and how to get through them, has covered topics including mental health, survivor’s guilt, losing a child and addiction.

“I really feel like the cancer journey and the ultra-endurance journey are kind of parallel,” Phil said. “It’s a mind game. You have got to really work mentally as well as physically to get through it. So, I was just like: I can do this.”

Phil, we’re glad you’re still with us!

Learn more about cancer care at Ochsner: https://www.ochsner.org/services/cancer-care

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One response to “Phil’s Story Featured by Ochsner Health & Cancer Institute”

  1. Colleen Stephens Avatar
    Colleen Stephens

    Hey would love to connect and become part of this organization. My prosthetist and friend Brittany Vicknair was telling me some of your story. I have quite a story as well. A rare cancer ( synovial sarcoma ) survivor of 24 years and an amputee of 6 years. I have had a medical journey that is still evolving. I am currently taking classes to be a counselor or therapist for cancer patients, amputees , anyone that can benefit from all I have been through. I was unable to do the walk a couple weeks ago b/c I had a test socket but hope to do the next one.

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