To inspire others living with cancer

Sheryl Nadler, the Hamilton SpectatorMartin Evanoff has finished 14 triathlons since being diagnosed with cancer.

Working out with … Martin Evanoff

By Lise Diebel
Special to The Hamilton Spectator(Aug 24, 2006) –copied with permissionMartin Evanoff was training for his first-ever marathon three years ago when he was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer.

In spite of the devastating news, the Dundas man finished the race.

Afterward, he underwent surgery for a gastrointestinal stromal tumour. Weeks later, he was back running.

Chemotherapy and radiation weren’t options for this type of cancer, and surgery couldn’t rid his body of it.

But a new drug that specifically targets cancer cells allows him to live a normal life.

“I would likely not be here today – and I certainly would not be able to do such rigorous training — if not for this new cancer drug, which was only approved just over a year before I was diagnosed,” says Evanoff, 51.

“(The drug Gleevec) won’t cure my tumours, but it does keep them from growing.”

It’s not known how long the drug will work. Evanoff hopes it’s long enough for a cure to be discovered.

And staying in peak physical condition is his way of fighting the disease.

Since his diagnosis, Evanoff has competed in 14 triathlons.

Last summer, he won the championship title in his age group in the HSBC Triathlon Series.

He also successfully completed an Ironman and will tackle a second triathlon — the Subaru Ironman Canada event — this Sunday in Penticton, B.C.

This time, Evanoff’s mission goes beyond finishing the race.

He’s also raising money for cancer research.

Until recently, the accounting supervisor at The Dominion of Canada General Insurance Company in Oakville had kept his diagnosis a secret, telling only family and close friends.

Then a few weeks ago, after encouragement from that inner circle, he decided to go public.

Evanoff hopes to be an inspiration to others living with cancer.

He also saw an opportunity to raise money for cancer research.

So far, he’s raised $6,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada’s Make Cures Happen campaign.

His goal is $10,000.

He’s supporting the Society because the drug Gleevec was developed for leukemia.

To donate call the Society at 1-877-668-8326 or you can visit Evanoff’s web page at

When he’s not training for a race, Evanoff does six hours of training a week — two hours each of running, swimming and cycling.

When training for an event, he peaks at 20 to 22 hours a week with three hours of swimming, six hours of running and up to 13 hours of cycling.