Jim Galvanek was a 27-year-old architect when he was diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) in 1998. At the time, the only reliable treatment was a bone marrow transplant, which required that his entire blood and immune system be destroyed and replaced with that from a donor.
A bone marrow transplant is one of the toughest medical procedures to withstand and Galvanek spent over a month in hospital and more than a year recuperating before returning to work.
Galvanek’s body accepted the transplant and he made a full recovery. But something in his life seemed incomplete. With support from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training, a training group for endurance athletes, he began to run marathons as a way of raising money for the LLS.
He eventually set his sights on the Ironman triathlon, a feat of endurance that includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and full marathon. Galvanek successfully completed his first Ironman in 2008 to celebrate the ten-year anniversary of his bone marrow transplant. He has since competed in numerous triathlons and other endurance events, raising over $250,000 in support of blood cancer research.