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Cancer fighter turns to swimming to help others fighting the same battle

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LOUISBURG, Kan. -- Tyghe Nielsen just reached a huge milestone.  He was diagnosed with cancer five years ago and the odds were stacked against him.

“There’s a big price to pay to still be kicking. The medicines they give you are toxic. They can make you want to give up on a lot of days,” he said. “When you’re diagnosed with stage IV colorectal cancer your chance to survive at five years is about 8 percent.”

The fight against this silent killer and the death of his friend motivated Nielsen to start a non-profit called Drown Out Cancer.

“It hit me the day of her funeral. You never know how much time you have with this, and I felt like I haven’t given back or done anything,” he said.

The foundation has raised $50,000 for The University of Kansas Hospital. That amount was the first to be matched by the Annette Bloch 10-million Challenge Grant.

He’s raising money for cancer research and treatment through swimming.

“I couldn’t run anymore because my hips are damaged from the medicine, but I could always swim,” he said.

He also joined the KU swim team as a senior. Nielsen is still fighting his own battle, but says he’s hoping the money raised will help others fight their own.

“I’m not supposed to be there. I’m not supposed to be at this point. So every day is a bonus,” he said.

As a reminder, the date of this year’s event is Sept 12, 2015 at the Lawrence Indoor Aquatic Center in Lawrence, KS. People can follow along for updates on the Drown Out Cancer Facebook page or at

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