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Cancer survivor to lead local run/walk

Clark Goodwin is the chairman and grand marshal for the American Cancer Society Run/Walk—Ellsworth this Friday evening at the Pierce County Fairgrounds. Goodwin said Thursday he’ll ride in a convertible for the event. (Photo by Bill Kirk)

With military-like determination, Clark Goodwin has fought bladder cancer for over a decade.

Goodwin, now retired from the Navy and the Army Reserves, said Thursday he initially experienced pain in his lower abdomen. He went to the Veterans Hospital in St. Paul, where doctors found a tumor in him. In June of 2003, he underwent an operation there.

 “I’ve been building a new bladder since,” said the chairman and grand marshal for next Friday’s American Cancer Society Run/Walk—Ellsworth.

At the time, Goodwin was the youngest person ever to receive the neo-bladder procedure, he understood. The now-61-year-old said the 13-and-a-half hour operation involved removing some of his lower intestine. After spending a week-and-a-half in the hospital, he was sent home, only to get a staph infection.

“I’m in remission,” he said, showing last week a gauze-wrapped arm to which a line has been attached, soon to be removed but the latest effort to deal with that infection.

Meantime, the cancer patient’s affected organs are stretching, gradually returning to a kind of normalcy, he said. He feels good (many people tell him he looks younger than his age), plays golf in the senior league at the Ellsworth Country Club Tuesday mornings, and goes fishing to such places as Big Round, Cedar Lake and Tainter Lake.

“Next June, we’re going to fish in Canada,” he said, noting some of his 15 grandchildren will accompany him.

Cancer isn’t the only life-changer to have touched Goodwin. He said he was struck by lightning in 1987. The indirect hit came while he was at summer camp at Fort McCoy. He was flown to Lutheran Hospital in La Crosse for treatment; the following day, he was in stable condition, but had suffered nerve damage.

“They did a lot of testing and I ended up legally disabled,” he said, demonstrating the effects by clenching his fists intermittently and telling about a loss of sensation.

The survivor first got involved with the Cancer Society’s run/walk two years ago, also chairing it then, he said. After a year’s hiatus, he was asked to take over again this year.

The chairman said his duties include setting meetings for the organizing committee, arranging for door prizes, lining up sponsors (Loberg Law Office, American Family Insurance and State Farm Insurance were mentioned by him for this year), encouraging the formation of teams, signing up individuals, soliciting donations and more. As grand marshal this time, he gets to lead the procession from a perch in a convertible.

The event was switched from its traditional Saturday morning start to Friday evening in 2012, continuing under that schedule now, he said, estimating there were 95-to-105 participants a year ago. Besides the 5:30 p.m. registration next Friday, picnic dinner for a free will donation at 5:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. start for the main run/walk, there will be a Kids Fun Walk at 6 p.m., sponsored by the Ellsworth Funsters. The 4.6-mile main route extends from the fairgrounds to The Highlands on the village’s north side, east along Crosstown Road, south on Railroad Avenue, back west on Main Street to Grant Street, then returning to the fairgrounds.

For more please read the July 24 print version of the Herald. 

Bill Kirk

Bill Kirk was editor of the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth, from 1988 to February, 2015 and is now on staff as a reporter. He holds a bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. He previously worked in the media distribution department at the University of Minnesota's Minneapolis campus and is past editor of The Tri-County News in Osseo, Wisconsin.

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