The World’s Strongest Man

Clay and Ty

Team Tyler meets Team Treska

If one is lucky enough to meet Clay Treska, as I was on Tuesday, it won’t take you long to notice his physical strength.  And if you’re lucky enough to spend some time with him, to hear him speak, to share his story, and his outlook on life, one quickly comes to the realization that his strength goes far beyond the physical.  If mental and spiritual muscles could be flexed, his would be bursting at the seams.

A framed picture of Clay hangs in the infusion center at the Moore’s Cancer center, where I go twice a week for blood work and occasional outpatient treatments.  Before I had the opportunity to meet him, I saw this picture, and stopped and stared in amazement.  On the left of the frame is Clay, weakened and bed-ridden.  On the right is a seemingly different person, muscles bulging, competing in the Kona Ironman World Championships.  For those that don’t know, Kona is the big one.

To call his story an inspiration would be perhaps the world’s biggest understatement. His cancer came back. They told him there was nothing they could do. They used words like ‘terminal’. They made hospice arrangements.

With a nothing to lose attitude, and a fighting spirit, he went out on a limb, emailing Lance Armstrong’s oncologist.  To his surprise, he got a response.  There was a new combination stem-cell/chemotherapy treatment in development that just might be worth a shot.  He was admitted to UCSD’s clinical trials program, and began treatment immediately. The rest of the story (and it is still unfolding) is described in detail on Clay’s website TeamTreska.org, in a variety of media and youtube videos.

If you have a few minutes, I would encourage you to check out his site. This particular clip doesn’t cover the entire story, but I thought it was worth sharing and happens to feature my primary oncologist, Dr. Peter Curtin, who was Clay’s doctor as well:

To Clay: Thanks for being the person you are, and for reminding us all of the opportunity that exists in every challenge.

–T

P.S. I have to thank the love of my life Natasha Moshirian for secretly setting up this visit.  When Clay walked in and introduced himself, I think my jaw hit the floor.  Thanks Tash!

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7 thoughts on “The World’s Strongest Man

  1. Great Tyler…thanks for sharing! We know you will do just as well!!! Lime green bracelets are in locked and loaded mode!!!!!!! As one famous Nebraskan says….”git R done!!!

    • Thanks Dick! Clay took the bracelet right off my wrist, which was pretty cool. I’ve got another blog post in the works that I think you’ll recognize. But we don’t want to spoil the surprise…

  2. Wow, Ty! First of all… what an amazing surprise Tasha gave you! It’s great for you to have someone like Clay in your corner! Secondly, what an inspiring story. It brought tears to my eyes! He sounds like an amazing person and I KNOW that YOU are just amazing! Keep up that great attitude and remember… alot can happen in 9 months! I am excited to see where you’ll be in 9 months, because I know you’ll be doing something fantastic!
    From your fellow Gourmet Kid – Michelle

  3. It,s certinly outstanding for you to meet such powerful man like Clay.
    What a will and fight he has to live! And still compete iron man

  4. I was brought to the attention to your page by a mutual friend, Clay Treska. My thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family- and by reading your blog- I have full confidence that you will overcome this speed bump in your life. Thank you for reminding me of why I train. You see- I am a person living with Non Hodgkins Lymphoma- I say living because there is no cure for it- but as of right now- they say I am good to go. So I train- with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society- as I have done for so many seasons- raising countless of dollars. Here is why I am thanking you- after I loss my niece to Leukemia a couple months ago, I almost gave up on trying to help fundraise to help find a cure for blood cancers- but after reading your blog- you reminded me that must continue to fight this war- you have re-inspired me to fundraise and train- THANK YOU.

    It would be an honor if I can add you to my honored teammate list this season as I race in the Lavaman Triathonl in April-

    Again. I wish you the best of luck in this chapter of your life.

    -Lawrence

  5. Hi, Ty!
    Just got the news about your situation from Clay’s Facebook site. A friend of mine alerted me to Clay on Facebook. It has been amazing for me to become part of Clay’s Team! He is choosing to fully live his life—100%! I send you love and prayers–especially encouragement at this time. We are a community. A friend of mine once told me that “a stranger is a friend we have not yet met.” So–you are now my “stranger-friend”!! –Susan

  6. I think you and Clay have many things in common, what a gift that your paths have crossed while you are on this journey of getting well. Thanks for sharing and we will keep those candles burning sending the prayer that the Universe gives you and those who love you, what you need each and every day.. Love, Connie and many animals

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