Cancer Survivor Prepares for Ironman Canada - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Cancer Survivor Prepares for Ironman Canada

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Wendy Damonte
Channel 2 News

Danny Heinsohn has your typical aches and pains from being an endurance athlete.  There's a wrap around his leg for support during a recent training run.   But there are other signs on his body of a time when pain was much deeper and much more scary.   "I was diagnosed with a brain tumor in may 1999, the day after I graduated college."

He was just 23 years old and leaving to backpack across Europe. But his diagnosis changed that and his life. Friends and family surrounded him during 3 brain surgeries where they removed a tumor the size of a racket ball.  And then during a year of chemotherapy.   "That was one of the valuable things I took away from this that being there can make all the difference in the world. And I fought. The whole reason I fought is because I didn't want to let them down.

On his 10 year anniversary of being in remission, he launched his own foundation call My Home Town Heroes, named in honor of those who helped him through his ordeal. The goal is to raise money for kids fighting cancer.  "So I am training for the Ironman Canada as my initial fundraising campaign to promote my organization."

The Ironman consists of 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles on the bike and a marathon, 26.2 miles running. Danny has never competed in an Ironman event but he has endured a similar hardship.  "There's a lot of parallels between Ironman and going through cancer. Because it takes a lot of will, a lot of determination and it takes a lot of support from friends and family."

And so he continues down another long road.  This time to fight for the youngest victims of cancer. The kids who will walk in his shoes of chemotherapy in hopes of one day going to college on scholarship money raised from his running shoes.

To donate to Danny's foundation, go to his web site at

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