My Story

Derek Fitzgerald crosses the finish line of Ironman Lake Placid.Hello, my name is Derek Fitzgerald.  In 2003, after having a large tumor removed from my stomach, I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  The chemotherapy I received saved my life, but severely damaged my heart and ultimately led to the heart transplant I received on January 3, 2011. My survival has been greatly due to advances in medical science and the caring and generosity of others. Now that I’m able, it’s my turn to say thanks and do my part.

Just after chemo

Just after chemo

During my cardiac rehabilitation, I was able to build upon my therapy sessions to run in a 5K race, just eight months after my transplant.  Two months later, I ran in my first half marathon and raised funds to help fight cancer with Team In Training.  In late 2011, I rejoined my friends at Team In Training and signed up for the St. Anthony’s Triathlon.  I was joined by my two brothers-in-law, Dan Coyle and Angelo Giuffrida, and together we created Team Recycledman.  By competing in endurance competitions, we celebrate the life we have.  Our goal to raise awareness of the issues faced by those with cancer and organ failure, and help fund new developments in the fields of oncology and organ transplantation.

Just after transplant

Just after transplant

I run, I swim, and I bike because I can – because I survived.  I do it to say thank you to all the people that supported me and to honor the people that didn’t make it this far.  I do it because there are still so many that need our support.  Everyone deserves a fighting chance – not just to survive, but to live.

Thanks for everything,

Derek