Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

[friday]

January 17, 2014

His race to the top

I’m ashamed to admit that I sometimes get winded running up the 23 steps to my second-story office at work.

In my defense, the staircase is especially steep. Okay, I’m just out of shape.

I was already embarrassed about that fact. Then, I spoke to Kokomo native David Hollingsworth this week.

He’s training for a run to the top of the Empire State Building.

Yeah, you read that right. On Feb. 5, he’ll sprint up all 86 floors of the New York City skyscraper. That’s 1,576 steps, or more than 68 times the number I climb every day at work.

And he’s doing it to support an old high school buddy, Jeff Goad, who fought cancer and won.

“Jeff sat next to me in band, and we were known as better comedians than musicians,” Hollingsworth wrote in his blog. “Our teacher had the patience of Job in dealing with our shenanigans…he would occasionally glance up, raising one Spock-like eyebrow in our direction, letting us know we’d been busted…..but that was all part of growing up.”

Hollingsworth lost touch with his friend and didn’t reconnect until much later. He found out that Goad had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer, in 2010.

Prior to his diagnosis, Goad had run nine marathons and participated in grueling sailing competitions. After a full year of chemo and two stem cell transplants, though, Goad went from being a true athlete to barely walking around the block.

It took time for him to rebuild his strength and endurance, but he did. Since then Goad has hiked in the Grand Canyon and completed the Chicago and New York marathons – cancer free.

“At this stage, while Jeff may consider this living a ‘normal’ life, I think it’s an exceptional one – and it’s inspired me to join in the fight,” Hollingsworth wrote in the blog. “I’m training hard to get ready for the [Empire State Building] Run-Up, and doing everything I can to get this story out.”

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