One step at a time, Lawrence man fights cancer

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LAWRENCE, Kan. -- This weekend eight communities in the metro are hosting Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. One Lawrence man who's never had cancer has become one of the most successful fundraisers in the country for the event-thanks to a lot of time on his feet.

Starting after the holidays until June, 61-year-old Bob Silipigni walks. He walks seven days a week for hours at a time only stopping long enough for a quick visit and to ask for a donation for a cause he can't give up on.

"Like so many people, cancer has touched our lives. My grandfather, uncle, my employer, and two years ago, my dog," Silipigni said.

For 14 years, Bob's raised money for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life. His first year he raised just over a thousand dollars. This year he's on track to raise nearly $48,000. Over fourteen years, he's raised more than $286,000.

He does it all through sheer determination.

"Up until the relay, I'm at it seven days a week. I will take Mother's Day off and Easter Sunday off," Silipigni said.

Bob knocks on doors, and many of his donors know his routine well by now.

"Most of them laugh, and they say Bob we saw you down the street, so we've got the checkbook ready," Silipigni smiled.

While they donate to the American Cancer Society, Bob says he gets something out of his journey as well.

"The friendships I've developed, and my donor friends are now friends that I see on Christmas day, so I've been blessed," he said.

Bob's been honored multiple times by the American Cancer Society and even President Barack Obama, but he says it's the little things he treasures to get him through the tough times.

"Not all the news is good. I do regret over 14 years, over that span of time, some of my donors have contracted cancer," Silipigni explained.

Most are doing well, but some are not.

"Now within the last two years, three passed away, and that bugs me. It bugs me. Because those people were so kind to me," Silipigni said.

And cancer bugs Bob, so to shake it, he vows to keep walking to keep fighting, one step at a time.

To find out more about Relay for Life, click here.

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