HILLSDALE, Kan. — You see a fisherman on Hillsdale Lake which is nothing out of the ordinary. Then you spot a kayak and a swimmer nearby in rough water. It’s how you could describe Mary Gooze’s life since last June when cancer came back.
“Every day I wake up and I have cancer. But I can’t crawl in a ball in a fetal position,” said Gooze.
So Gooze swims. She started on the opposite shore. She says it felt like being in a washing machine. It felt that way for her husband, Rob, too, who was in the kayak.
“Should have gone the other direction. It was into the wind most of the way,” he said.
But it didn’t stop a woman with stage 4 metastatic breast cancer who can only swim with one leg because cancer is now in her other hip.
“But I get across,” she said.
And she did, covering more than two miles in a little more than 90 minutes. The Wisconsin woman came to the metro as part of a coast-to-coast caravan for METAvivor. The group funds research and speaks out about the lack of it for people with metastatic breast cancer.
“We say don’t ignore stage 4, and the funds are sorely lacking,” said Gooze.
CJ Corneliussen-James is a co-founder of METAvivor.
“The only thing that’s going to extend our lives with quality and hopefully ultimately save some of our lives is funding the research that will get us there,” she said.
Gooze said, “You have to keep going. You never give up, and goals are important.”
Her goal is to swim many more lakes to raise money so those with metastatic cancer can triumph.
One hundred percent of the money raised by METAvivor goes to research. The caravan’s stop in the metro included meeting with a K.U. Medical Center researcher who has received funding from the group.