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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The Pharmaceutical Product Development (PPD) company honored 7 heroes Thursday in Wilmington. These aren't your normal kind of heroes because they've all been fighting a battle with themselves for survival.
The Beach2Battleship Triathlon is on October 20. 2012 in Wilmington. More than 2000 athletes are expected to participate. Many of the individuals in the race are survivors of diseases like cancer. For them this event has a different meaning.
Emily Schaller has had cystic fibrosis since she was a toddler. Doctors told her she wouldn't live long enough to be an adult.
"I just turned 30 this year," said Schaller. "My first gray hair just popped in and I'm just excited."
Garrett Miller was diagnosed with a brain tumor at age 6. Doctors told him he had a 50% chance of making it. Eric Miller, Garret's father is also a hero.
"Garret's cancer changed my life irreversibly and continues to do so," said Eric Miller. "We're fortunate that Garrett is still with us, but we don't take that for granted."
Dr. Brigit Arb is an oncologist in Wilmington. She works with patients diagnosed with terminal illnesses.
Mary Kreis is an associate professor in Pennsylvania. She was diagnosed with Melanoma right after she became pregnant. She now has a healthy 7-year old girl.
Katie Reisinger is a speech therapist in Asheville, NC. She is a cystic fibrosis patient who credits her life to her passion for running.
Willie Vasser, Jr. is from Virginia Beach, VA. He was diagnosed with leukemia in 2004. His son had a more aggressive form of leukemia and died in 2006.
"They're alive because of clinical trials," said Schaller.
Most of these heroes have undergone clinical trials with PPD. They said the trial has given their life a chance.
"Clinical trials are in a race to save our lives," said Schaller. "In the triathlon, I'm racing to save my life but also to do something huge for yourself and the community."
"I get to live another day and that's a gift," said Garrett Miller.
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