After several weeks in an Arizona hospital with COVD-19-like symptoms, beloved ultrarunner Tommy Rivers Puzey has finally received a diagnosis – primary pulmonary NK/T-cell lymphoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. His brother Jacob Puzey shared the diagnosis on Instagram on Friday, asking for whatever support runners can give:
“This isn’t going to be a two-week stint in the hospital like he thought it might be. This is going to be a long treatment. I believe he may even start chemo today or as soon as they feel like he can. Your contributions and your hopes are not in vain and this is going to be a long fight. And Steph and the girls need your help. Steph lost her father to cancer when she was just a little older than her oldest daughter. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.”
Rivers Puzey is a prominent figure in the American running community, but his most important roles are those of husband to his wife, Steph, and father to three young girls. In a series of videos posted to his Instagram page, Rivers Puzey filled the running community in on his progressing condition. He explained that he was running in the Grand Canyon with friend Derrick Lytle when he first started to feel sick earlier this month. He went to the hospital several days later.
With the new diagnosis, Rivers Puzey has been relocated from Flagstaff to a hospital at lower elevation in Scottsdale, to naturally reduce the pressure on his lungs. His brother, Jacob, will continue to provide updates when possible to his Instagram, and in the meantime asks that runners, “Run for Rivs. Keep him in your thoughts.”
The family has a GoFundMe page to help with medical bills during this time. Rivers Puzey has a huge influence, which can be seen through the outpouring of support. The page has raised over $318,000 in a week with 5,400 people donating.