• As title sponsor of the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon, named one of the best iron distance events in the world by Triathlete magazine, PPD is spotlighting the importance of clinical research in delivering new medicines and therapies to improve health and save lives.

  • "For 15 years, I battled ulcerative colitis. I am thankful for those who participated in clinical trials in the years prior to my diagnosis, as they paved the way for the excellent medical treatment I received. I stood on the shoulders of those who had gone before me in the search for treatments and pioneered the type of surgery I had to find relief."

  • Triathletes are tough. Persevering through grueling training and the most demanding of races with single-minded purpose reflects not simply a desire to compete, but to prevail against the odds. Like a triathlon, the journey back from disease and illness to health and wellness requires dedication, teamwork and perseverance.


Kristen Adelman

2013 HERO

“I owe my life to the clinical trial and the incredible team who cared for me.”

I am a four-time non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor who has heard the words, “you have less than a year to live,” more than once.

After chemotherapy, radiation and a stem cell transplant failed, I was left with very little hope for treatment. Fortunately my doctor had the insight to contact the National Cancer Institute to see if there was a clinical trial that might be right for me.

I wasn’t even aware at that time that clinical trials were out there and, luckily, there was one that I met all of the trial prerequisites. I know the treatment I received wouldn’t have been available if it hadn’t been for the trial. These trials directly impact lives, as they help researchers learn and develop new and very necessary medicines and therapies.

I know the trial that I was a part of has advanced considerably in the last eight years and continues to save lives. Also, when I was in the midst of my treatment, I took great comfort knowing that if the therapy didn’t cure me, it would lead to further research to help others after me.

I know this trial saved my life. The care I received was the absolute best, and the team of doctors and nurses was incredible. Today, eight years later, I am healthy, living and loving my life and cancer-free.

I owe my life to the clinical trial and the incredible team who cared for me. I am still very passionate today about reaching out to others to let them know about clinical trials.

Eric Miller

2013 HERO

“We attribute Garrett’s survival to the clinical trial he participated in.”

My son, Garrett, was diagnosed with a medulloblastoma on 23 June 2000. He had brain surgery to remove the tumor on 24 June and was left profoundly visually impaired. He received six weeks of radiation therapy and 64 weeks of chemotherapy. He was left on a ventilator for two days, aphasic and paralyzed. He had to relearn to walk and talk.

Garrett’s participation in a clinical trial took his survival rate from 50/50 at the beginning of treatment to 90% at the end of treatment and the close of the trial. This year, he celebrates his 11-year anniversary of being healthy. Each year on his anniversary, we do a triathlon together.

Hear how a clinical trial saved Garrett Rush-Miller’s life in his video below.

Garrett is a remarkable young man. He is a Life Scout in the Boy Scouts and will be completing his Eagle Scout. He is very athletic and well-spoken. He is passionate about helping others and uses every opportunity to mentor younger kids through their struggles. He is a great example.

In 2001, I started the Rush-Miller Foundation which donates tandem bicycles to blind and low-vision children in the United States and abroad. So far, we've donated more than 80 tandems in 23 states and six countries.

I am so excited about the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon and promoting awareness of clinical trials! I'm serious about doing whatever I can to help the cause.

Emily Schaller

2013 HERO

“I am constantly seeking new trials to help develop life-saving therapies.”

In 1983, at 18 months old, I was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis (CF). Thirty years ago, the median age of survival for CF patients was in the late teens. Doctors told my parents that I may not live long enough to graduate from high school.

In my early teens I started participating in clinical trials. CF has a rich history and future because of clinical trials. The correlation of all of the new treatments and the increased survival in CF patients is remarkable. I’ve been lucky enough to participate in trials for some important new drugs for cystic fibrosis.

Learn why Emily Schaller participates in clinical trials to help advance treatments for cystic fibrosis in her video below.

I recently finished a trial for a drug that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in early 2012. Within four days of starting the phase III trial for this therapy, I knew something huge was happening.

I was able to take a full deep breath and let it out – without coughing. My lung function soared to record numbers and maintained. My CF symptoms, like my junky cough, just about disappeared.

Through clinical trials, my hope is that other therapies will be developed to treat the underlying cause of CF, so others never have to do the daily treatments that my CF friends and I have to do now.

That is the vision I promote as founder, CEO and president of the nonprofit Rock CF Foundation, which is dedicated to improving quality of life for people with cystic fibrosis, supporting research initiatives and increasing public awareness.



“In the race for health and wellness, we can all be heroes.”

PPD celebrates everyday heroes who have overcome life-threatening illness by participating in clinical trials or who serve as medical professionals engaged in clinical research. Not only are they competing in the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon. They are championing increased public awareness of the importance of clinical trials to help people in need.

PPD Clients and Partners: Join Us »

Tell Us Your Story!

Laura Hull

2013 HERO

“I am grateful to clinical researchers like PPD for their continued support of the search for treatments for debilitating diseases.”

When I was 24 years old, I was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. I spent the next 15 years battling the disease and the accompanying cramps, rectal bleeding, diarrhea and fatigue. Worse, was feeling chained to bathrooms. If I wasn’t assured of quick restroom access, I wouldn’t participate. It wasn’t worth the risk of an embarrassing accident.

As a result, the boundaries around my life began to close in. Travel, one of my long-time passions, ceased. Outings and activities with my family diminished. And exercise? I could barely make it through some days, let alone have the energy for any type of physical activity.

I participated in a clinical trial testing new medications. Thanks to those who funded the trial, the extensive medical tests and exams I underwent during the trial were cost-free for me. While I proved unresponsive to the medicines used in the trial, my hope is that what was learned from my participation helped further the advancement of effective treatments for ulcerative colitis.

Learn why Laura Hull participates in clinical trials to help advance treatments for ulcerative colitis in her video below.

At the age of 39, I made the decision to have my colon removed. The surgery gave me a second chance at life. Instead of living with restrictions, hemmed in by what I was unable to do, I relished seeing the prior boundaries of what I was capable of doing come crashing down.

I am thankful for those who participated in clinical trials in the years prior to my diagnosis, as they paved the way for the excellent medical treatment I received. I stood on the shoulders of those who had gone before me in the search for treatments. I am thankful to have played a small part in developing better treatments for those with ulcerative colitis. It is a horrible disease. Many of those it affects suffer in silence, embarrassed to talk about the pain and problems of living with ulcerative colitis.

No one should have to make the choice to have an organ removed from their body. Effective, kinder medical treatments for diseases must be found. While that treatment never materialized for me, through continued clinical research, I hope the stories for others will have a different ending. I am grateful to clinical researchers like PPD for their continued support of the search for treatments for debilitating diseases.

Meg Roberts

2013 HERO

“Researchers have made it possible for people to survive Type 1 diabetes.”

I have Type 1 diabetes. Every day I get out of bed, I exercise, I eat well, I manage my condition to the best of my ability and I love my life. Certainly, 100 or even 50 years ago, my quality of life would not have been what it is today, without medical research and the availability of one simple drug. That simple drug is insulin. At 10 years old, I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, an autoimmune disease. When I was 10, my own body attacked the cells of my pancreas that produce insulin. As I result, I have to inject insulin, every day – several times per day.

Most people don’t think about their food very much. When they are hungry, most just put food in their mouth. The body does the rest. Perhaps triathletes more than others realize a healthy diet makes a healthy person. But unfortunately, I have to be a little more precise in my healthy eating. With each bite I put in my mouth, I must do a calculation in my head: I’m about to eat 45 grams of carbs and I just completed a 2000 meter swim. How much insulin does that mean I have to take?

Every bite, every step, every day requires a careful balance. I’m happy to report I’ve been doing this, with a fair amount of success, for 25 years since I was diagnosed. And for those 25 years I am so grateful. One bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, one terrific husband, two wonderful children, a lot of traveling, five marathons, six half marathons and five (soon to be six) triathlons later I am still able to tell you my story.

Researchers have made it possible for people to survive Type 1 diabetes and have developed different types of insulin and ways to monitor blood sugar. Additionally, research has helped medical professionals understand how the endocrine system works. In turn, this helps people like me do those little calculations in their head. Those little bites, those little steps, they all add up. I want to make sure they add up to keeping me healthy for a very long time.

Someday, I hope those researches will develop a cure. My condition is chronic and there is no cure for Type 1 diabetes. Even though I may not see a cure in my lifetime, at least it is manageable today due to those doctors and researchers. As every day, every bite, every swim, every ride, every run requires me to be ever diligent for the remainder of my life, at least there is a remainder to live!

Vic Kinnunen

2013 HERO

“My hope is that there will be a cure for Type 1 diabetes and clinical research plays a critical role in the search for a cure.”

I have lived with Type 1 diabetes for more than 36 years. For many years, however, I didn’t talk about diabetes, because I didn’t want to be perceived as different or less capable than others. I had no diabetic friends and didn’t want to discuss diabetes, blood sugar levels or anything else related to the disease.

In the 1970s, I was fortunate enough to have a pediatrician who recognized that exercise played a role in diabetes management and I have been active throughout my life – swimming, playing basketball, participating in track and field, and playing football in high school and college. My level of physical activity dropped a bit as my family began to grow.

In 2006, I decided to recommit myself to finding new athletic challenges. I completed my first half marathon and decided to take on the task of completing a full marathon. I had difficulty finding information about how a person with diabetes should train, fuel, and recover for such an event due to the necessity for me to administer insulin.

My outlook on diabetes changed when my daughter, then in elementary school, began to show some of the initial signs of diabetes. The two of us attended a conference about diabetes exercise and sports in the summer of 2007. We found a group of people from around the world who were achieving athletic greatness – all while living with diabetes. Meeting these people, hearing their stories and finding other members of the diabetic athlete community were eye-opening, life-changing experiences for me.

To date, I have completed four full marathons and with the help and guidance of the members of Insulindependence, a nonprofit organization created to unite, expand and support the active diabetes community. Through the Triabetes triathlon club I’ve completed a number of sprint and Olympic distance races, finished two half Ironman races, and two full Ironman races, including the 2011 Ironman World Championship race in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. The people I meet with diabetes inspire me to complete these races.

When I was first diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, there were no insulin pumps, no synthetic insulin, no blood glucose meters, and no continuous glucose monitors (CGM). Today, clinical trials focused on integrated delivery systems (CGM and pump in one device), closed-loop, dual-hormone delivery systems (artificial pancreas), “smart” insulin, longer-lasting insulin, and faster acting insulin are among those that will improve the lives of the continually growing diabetic population. I have all of these tools at my disposal thanks to organizations like PPD that run the critical clinical trials that enable these devices and medications to be more safe and user-friendly.

Especially for my daughter, who was diagnosed with diabetes in 2011, my hope is that there will be a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Clinical research plays a critical role in the search for a cure. Until that happens, people need to realize that having diabetes is not a limiter in terms of what you can accomplish. Limits come from our own assumptions about what’s possible to achieve. Diabetes should be a motivator and exercise should be a critical component of every diabetic’s management strategy.

Wendy Chioji

2011 HERO

“Before I even knew if I would get better, participating in a clinical trial was a way for me to pay it forward.”

In 2001, I was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. My oncologist, who was also my marathon training partner, told me that I was going to suffer, but if I participated in a clinical trial for my chemotherapy medications, other women and men may suffer less in the future. How could I say no?

During my second round of chemotherapy, I took lower doses of a medication every week for 12 weeks, and this worked great for me. My hair started growing back and I started training for triathlons again. I was able to receive chemotherapy in the morning and go to work in the afternoon. Participating in a clinical trial was right up my alley, and I am now nine years clear of cancer.

Before I even knew if I would get better, participating in a clinical trial was a way for me to pay it forward. I feel good about my participation and have done a lot of public speaking to promote clinical trials.

In 2003, I was on the original Tour of Hope team riding across America. That was a great platform to speak on a national level about the importance of clinical trials. I used that as a springboard and continue to speak to this day about the critical nature of clinical trials to find better medicines and cures.

Mary Kreis

2012 HERO

“Without clinical trials, my cancer may have been missed.”

The year 2004 was both an incredible and a heartbreaking year. The incredible adventures began as I was achieving a life-long goal of riding my bike cross-country. Beginning in Oregon, I rode through seven states and went over 3,000 miles before I realized that my body was giving me clues, including weight gain (even with riding 70-115 miles a day), that hinted I was pregnant. I felt energized and focused on the ride – continuing on to Pennsylvania for my new college teaching job, riding more than 3,500 miles with a baby on board.

The same day that school started, a dermatologist examined a mole that had changed earlier that year. A biopsy showed that I had melanoma and that I would have to have immediate surgery to remove the mole and the main or sentinel lymph node that it drained to -- all at 23 weeks pregnant.

Two days later, I learned that Lance Armstrong would be in Pittsburgh. Even though I had not yet recovered from surgery, my entire family and I went. It was an overwhelming experience for me, not only to see Lance, but also to begin to think of myself as a "cancer survivor" and to be among cancer survivors as they sat in the seats with us and lined the outfield park.

Just days after my surgery, I was told that the cancer had spread to my sentinel lymph node. I had surgery again less than two weeks later. I was so worried about my baby's health. The surgeon removed eight nodes in my groin.

My oncologist told me that if clinical trials had not been conducted in relation to sentinel lymph node surgeries prior to my procedure, they might not have been able to confidently perform the surgery on a pregnant woman and identify a cancerous tumor in this node. Without clinical trials, my cancer may have been missed.

We named our healthy baby girl Viva – for living life to the fullest!

Dr. Birgit Arb

2012 HERO

“I cannot stress the importance of clinical trials enough.”

I cannot stress the importance of clinical trials enough and I thank the patients and caregivers, who are truly our heroes, who allow us to continue to find answers to the treatment of these difficult diseases.

I am a medical oncologist with Cape Fear Cancer Specialists in Wilmington, N.C., as part of the New Hanover Regional Medical Center Physicians Group. My passion is to provide state-of-the-art care and support to adult patients with cancer – from diagnosis through treatment.

As is true of other specialties in medicine, patient participation in clinical trials is one of the best tools for the development of new treatments and learning about the biology of cancer.

Currently, only about 5 percent of adult cancer patients participate in clinical trials, and there is great need for improvement.

The story of my patient Lee is a case study demonstrating the tremendous contributions made through clinical trials.

In 1998, Lee was diagnosed with an incurable cancer called multiple myeloma. She was 59 years old and underwent successful chemotherapy, followed by a bone marrow transplant. She remained in remission until 2002, when she was diagnosed with a relapse of multiple myeloma. After reviewing her options, Lee enrolled in a clinical trial using a promising new medication. The treatment worked and resulted in a second remission.

Lee passed away from cancer complications in 2011 at 72, but her legacy lives on. Lee’s participation in the clinical trial, and the sacrifices made by her and other patients, resulted in the development of one the most effective treatments of multiple myeloma that, today, helps countless patients. Patients like Lee inspire me and clinical researchers around the world to continue the fight against cancer.

Willie Vasser, Jr.

2012 HERO

“I encourage anyone diagnosed with a disease to consider the possibility of a clinical trial.”

In May 2004, I was sitting in my doctor’s office feeling great because I had just won my age group in a triathlon. My doctor assured me everything would probably come out fine on my blood work. Both of us were shocked when a few days, and numerous tests later, we discovered that I had leukemia.

My wife, Ellen, an oncology nurse, immediately got involved with my doctor researching the latest treatment options. I felt that going with the normal protocol did not hold much promise, especially with my active lifestyle. So I took the clinical trial route. My wife and doctor explained to me that, by taking this option, I would be closely monitored during and after my treatment.

In February 2005, I started the clinical trial chemotherapy and admittedly was nervous. The next six months, however, proved easy for me and I was able to complete a century bicycle ride around Lake Tahoe during my fifth month of treatment. By September 2005, my condition was considered to be in complete remission.

Sadly, in April 2006, my son Brian called to say he was on the way to Duke Medical Center because he had just been diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. Brian’s leukemia did not respond well to treatment, and he endured a stem cell transplant and several weeks in the hospital. Seven months after diagnosis, he died on Nov. 21, 2006.

In memory of Brian, Ellen and I continue to participate in events that raise public awareness about leukemia and clinical trials. Though I can’t bring Brian back, perhaps I can help someone else from going through what he did.

Katie McConville Reisinger

2012 HERO

“I truly enjoy being a part of clinical research studies.”

I was born with cystic fibrosis (CF), a genetic disease that affects mainly the lungs and digestive system. It causes thick mucus to build up in the lungs, which leads to decreased lung function. As I get older, CF definitely has more of an impact on my life.

Over the years, I have participated in five clinical trials, including one that I recently completed, and I truly enjoy being a part of these research studies. It is a worthwhile investment in not only my future, but the future of the entire CF community.

From an early age, I was encouraged by my parents to participate in sports as a way to stay healthy. I began running in middle school and ran my first 5k at age 13. I went on to run track and cross-country in high school and continue running today.

As I get older and my lungs get less healthy, I run slower than I used to. While it is sometimes frustrating, I know I am still getting great benefit from the exercise and love to run.

I spend a lot of time taking care of myself, completing about 1-2 hours of daily breathing treatments, as well as taking medicine with each meal. I have chronic lung infections, so I am often on antibiotics to keep my lungs clear. About once per year I do a multi-week course of intravenous antibiotics. I know that each minute I spend doing a treatment or running is adding time to my future. I am grateful that, throughout my lifetime, countless new drugs and treatments have been developed, and have benefitted me, as a result of people participating in research studies.


Roseann Dougherty

2011 HERO

“I know that anything is possible and that clinical trials can provide hope and new treatments.”

I lost my mother to brain cancer when I was 10. She was 33.

There were no treatments available for her at that time. Today, there are treatment options, but still we lose too many loved ones to cancer.

I know. I recently lost my brother and brother-in-law to cancer, and many of my beloved “cancer warriors” who have been my patients.

I know how heart-breaking it is to be told there is nothing more that can be done. I also know that anything is possible, and that clinical trials can provide hope and new treatments that can allow us to beat cancer.

My journey began when I met a young woman named Kristen Adelman, who today also is a PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon Hero.

We met several years ago while training for a triathlon, and a few months later she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma. I became her caregiver over the next several years, and as Kristen says, it was a clinical trial that saved her life.

During that time, I realized how enormous this journey is and that I wanted to be a part of it to help empower these incredibly brave people, like Kristen, battling cancer. I studied to become an oncology nurse and started a non-profit organization called Team Inspiration to provide healing resources. Today, I am an oncology nurse at the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Greenebaum Cancer Center.

One of my very special cancer warriors was first diagnosed with cancer as a teenager and had to have her leg amputated. She had to relearn how to swim with one leg. She was cancer-free for many years but is now in her early thirties and battling cancer once again. When offered the option of a clinical trial, she said it was a decision she didn't have to think twice about – that she was fighting to get back her ordinary, but extraordinary, life.

Today, many of my friends are beneficiaries of clinical trials and are living active and fulfilling lives – working, going to school, raising families, doing triathlons, giving back and inspiring one another!

We need to share our stories of success and inspire one another. We also need to empower the cancer community with knowledge and access to clinical trials so that we can provide hope and find new treatments that will one day allow us to beat cancer forever.

Claudio Battaglini

2011 HERO

“Without clinical trials it is virtually impossible to test new interventions to improve the quality of our lives..”

Before I began working with cancer patients, I was an international-level endurance sports coach, and some of my athletes achieved world champion status, Pan-American champion status and even Olympic game appearances.

After being introduced to the concept of exercise oncology – including the many studies demonstrating the benefits of exercise and activity during and after cancer treatment – I began training cancer patients.

Today, I direct my own exercise oncology research (http://www.ppdi.com/beach2battleship/www.unc.edu/depts/recreate/index.html) programs at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, conducting clinical trials that examined the effects of exercise in many different physiological systems in breast cancer survivors and acute leukemia patients undergoing high-dose chemotherapy.

These programs are designed to examine the effects of exercise training on the mitigation of side effects of anti-cancer treatments; on survival; and importantly, on patient quality of life.

The PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon is an amazing opportunity for me to promote exercise as a powerful intervention that has been shown, through empirical evidence, to benefit cancer patients on multiple levels.

Also, racing in the triathlon is the perfect opportunity for me to endorse the fundamental importance and absolute necessity of clinical trials on the improvement of life. Without clinical trials, it is virtually impossible to test new interventions or any strategy to improve the quality of our lives.

I've witnessed the power of exercise, through clinical trials, and have seen incredible positive changes in the lives of many patients.

Brian Barndt

2010 HERO

“I consider myself to be a walking, or swimming, testimony to the mission of PPD.”

I suffered congestive heart failure at 22 years old in 1990 and was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and atrial fibrillation. My health stabilized and was well managed with medications and regular diagnostic testing for 10 years. In 2001, I had an ICD implanted, due to the presence of life-threatening arrhythmias, ventricular tachycardia and fibrillation.

In 2003, I underwent my first open heart surgery to repair a mitral valve, which was leaking severely. I also enrolled in a clinical trial for a device designed to minimize the effects of heart failure.

Eighteen months later, I was evaluated for a heart transplant. I had become so weak that just getting the mail was a chore. My complexion was gray and I was retaining a tremendous amount of fluid. I was dying. After waiting seven weeks, I received my life-saving transplant on 25 July 2005. My health was miraculously restored.

Since my heart transplant, I have had the honor of winning seven gold medals in swimming at the 2006 and 2008 U.S. Transplant Games, as well as earning three silvers and one bronze medal at the 2009 World Transplant Games. Earlier this year, I became what I believe to be the first heart transplant recipient to swim in the Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon, a 1.5-mile swim in the San Francisco Bay.

I have been blessed with continuous good health since my transplant and have not experienced any rejection since my first week after surgery. The anti-rejection drugs, also called immunosuppressants, that I take daily, are the reason my heart can remain healthy and thrive. If these medications did not exist, my wife would have become a widow and my two daughters would not have their father.

These medications have done more than just save my life, they have allowed me to live my life to the fullest, reach new goals and inspire others to do the same.

Mark R. W. Black

2010 HERO

“The developments in medical procedures and medications are responsible for my survival.”

I was born with a life-threatening heart defect and had open-heart surgery when I was just 1 day old. When I was a year old, I had another surgery. Finally, 22 years later, I received a life-saving heart and double-lung transplant, a surgery that didn’t even exist when I was born.

Since then, I’ve run three marathons and five half-marathons, competed twice for Team Canada at the World Transplant Games, and I’m a 15-time medalist at the Canadian Transplant Games. In 2003, I founded my own speaking and consulting firm – Mark Black Speaks – and I’ve given 200 presentations to more than 55,000 people across North America.

I owe my life to medical research. Advances in surgery and transplantation were vital in saving my life, and clinical trials led to the developments of medications that keep me alive today.

Kyle Garlett

2010 HERO

“The bone marrow transplant curing me of lymphoma was developed by a clinical trial.”

I was originally diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in 1989 when I was 18 years old. I had two separate recurrences of the disease in 1991 and 1994, ending in a bone marrow transplant in the spring of 1995.

I developed a secondary leukemia in 1997, resulting in three more years of chemotherapy. In 2006, as a result of damage from chemotherapy, I received a heart transplant.

The bone marrow transplant that I received in 1995, curing me of lymphoma, was developed by a clinical trial. I was on a clinical trial after my heart transplant, and now that medication is a big reason why I’m healthy and able to compete in triathlons.

Michael Siegel

2010 HERO

“I was diagnosed with leukemia in 1995 with three kids – and twins on the way. Cancer clinical trials saved my life.”

In the spring of 1995, shortly after learning my wife Lori was pregnant with twins, I was diagnosed with chronic mylogenous leukemia. I was given four years to live and a 50/50 chance of surviving the recommended treatment option: a bone marrow transplant.

One look at Lori and the kids was all it took to realize this was not the treatment option for me. I just couldn’t see flipping a coin to determine if I were to live or die. I cried when I thought of the day I would have to say goodbye to them and go in for this procedure.

We found a continuing study using daily doses of a chemotherapy drug. I had incredible results, but there was constant nausea, achy bones and frequent visits to the ER and the intensive care unit. In the fall of 1999 I lost my complete remission and my doctor recommended I participate in a phase ll clinical trial. Within 12 weeks, I was in complete remission with no side effects. I lived on this medication with perfect test results for more than 14 years.

This is a remarkable testament to where cancer research can take us. On daily chemotherapy, I was a defiant survivor, fighting against the odds. Life was rough, hope was faint and dreams were put on hold. On the new medication, I had virtually no side effects and ran a marathon, ultra marathons and completed iron distance triathlons three times – and I could be a husband and a father to five growing children.

I’ve since started a new clinical trial to see if I was cured by the combination of therapies. Today, I am cancer-free and off treatment. This is a remarkable improvement in the quality of one’s life brought about by a better treatment, made possible by research and clinical trials.

Milana Dolezal

2010 HERO

“Clinical trials are very important and a focus of my practice.”

I’m in clinical practice as an oncologist and hematologist, and I've been competing in triathlons for over a decade. Clinical trials are very important and a focus of my practice.

The effects of cancer have personally touched me, when my grandmother, who helped raise me, was diagnosed with terminal breast cancer. I’ve dedicated my life to fighting cancer on many fronts. I believe in cancer survivorship, living strong, the power of exercise and positive thinking. Courage and hope exist in all of us, and my patients’ determination and full participation is a crucial weapon in the fight against cancer.

My goal is to teach, treat, and empower patients to help in the cancer fight by practicing with empathy and respect, while maintaining my patients’ dignity when treating their cancer and saving lives.

I have a strong clinical trial emphasis in practice, as I worked on developing drugs, writing protocols and as a medical monitor for four years on clinical trials prior to returning to clinical practice.

As cancer researchers, we are beginning to unfold the complex biology of cancer and have evolved the magic bullet concept to halt tumor growth with rigorous testing through clinical trials.

I am racing in the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon as a doctor, scientist, and caregiver with a call to action to encourage clinical trial participation.

  • OCTOBER 25, 2014
  • 7:30AM


2.4 MILES / 1.2 MILES
2HRS 20M / 1HR 30M

The PPD B2B swim course will be staged at Wrightsville Beach and will feature a mass beach start. The swim takes place in a channel that is connected to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway; so it's a salt water swim but not in the ocean. The Half Iron distance athletes will begin at 8:30AM in order to allow the full athletes to be well past the start line for the half.


112 MILES / 56 MILES
10HRS 15M / 5HR 45M*

*Cumulative from start of swim. The bike course takes competitors from Wrightsville Beach through the northern section of Wilmington and then up towards White Lake - home of one of the more famous half iron distance events on the east coast. The bike course is totally flat with the only elevation change taking place when participants finish the bike course by crossing a bridge on the way into the second transition area located inside the Wilmington Convention Center in downtown Wilmington. Vehicular traffic on the bike course will be extremely light throughout the course. Fully stocked aid stations will be located approximately every 15 miles along the entire course. For the full, a "Special Needs" stop will also be located at about the midpoint of the ride.


26.2 MILES / 13.1 MILES
17HRS 00M / 9HR 00M*

*Cumulative from start of swim. All athletes must be on Lap 2 of the run no later than 9:00PM (or 13 1/2 hours after the start of the swim). The two loop(full) and one loop(half) run course starts at the Wilmington Convention Center and finishes in downtown Wilmington just across the river from the historic USS North Carolina Battleship. Competitors will enjoy a flat and fast course as the newly designed run has eliminated 2 bridge crossings and extended mileage in the flat areas around Greenfield Lake.There will be run course aid stations located at every mile along the course, serving a variety of food, drinks, and energy products for the athletes. The run course will be fully covered with EMS personnel, HAM radio operators, and port-a-lets. The entire run course will be lit by portable light towers as well as street lights.


Course subject to change. For up-to-date information, please visit beach2battleship.com

    The PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon is an internationally recognized iron distance and half iron distance triathlon held each fall in coastal Wilmington, N.C. The race begins at Wrightsville Beach with a 2.4-mile open-water swim, followed by a 112-mile bike course. The race concludes with a 26.2-mile run beginning and ending in downtown Wilmington near the historic Battleship North Carolina.
  • PPD
    PPD, a leading global contract research organization, supports the PPD Beach2Battleship Triathlon as its title sponsor to support the Wilmington Family YMCA and to educate the public about the importance of clinical research in helping deliver life-saving medicines and to support the local community.
  • YMCA
    The event's net proceeds benefit the Wilmington Family YMCA. Each year, the Y conducts the We Build People campaign to help remove barriers and build a bridge for those who would not otherwise have access to YMCA services, and to support the many outreach programs offered to the community. » Learn more about the Wilmington Family YMCA.
    People participate in clinical trials for many reasons, ranging from gaining access to investigational treatments, free physical examinations and screenings to playing a more active role in their health care and helping people suffering from serious medical conditions. » For more information on clinical trials and how you can participate, visit ClinicalTrials.com.