By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4) – A young cancer survivor is urging others to help raise money to fund research performed in Colorado. Stephen Estrada is the 2018 honoree at the Cancer League of Colorado Race for Research.

Estrada has an amazing story. Four years ago, the hairstylist was given little hope.

(credit: CBS)

“I was told at the age of 28 I probably would not see 30,” Estrada told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.

Estrada had stage 4 colorectal cancer.

(credit: Stephen Estrada)

“I didn’t know what to do. Part of me felt like driving off a bridge,” he said.

Instead, he dove into treatment. He had emergency surgery then six months of aggressive chemotherapy that took him from 175 lbs. to just 100 lbs.

“I looked like I was a dead man walking,” he said.

Stephen Estrada (credit: CBS)

After a second surgery, Estrada began bleeding internally.

“The one time in this whole battle that I thought I was losing my life,” he said.

When he recovered, Estrada found a new oncologist at the University of Colorado Hospital and a phase I immunotherapy clinical trial. He has been cancer free for more than a year and a half. He has had 53 treatments.

(credit: Stephen Estrada)

“I get tired the day of, but I really don’t have any other side effects to complain about,” he said.

CBS4’s Kathy Walsh interviews Stephen Estrada. (credit: CBS)

“How long will you be on it?” Walsh asked.

“That’s kind of the million dollar question, no one really knows.”

(credit: Stephen Estrada)

Cancer has led Estrada to a new job with the Colorectal Cancer Alliance steering patients to medical and financial resources. And this year, he was chosen as the honoree at the Cancer League of Colorado Race for Research fundraiser.

(credit: CBS)

“You know, the time for hoping that cancer is gone, that’s not doing anything anymore,” said Estrada. “Their (race participants’) time, effort and money … that’s going to be the only thing that defeats cancer.”

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The following information about the Race for Research is from the Cancer League of Colorado:

  • The 22nd Annual Race for Research is a timed 5K run/walk that starts at 9 a.m. Sunday, August 19, 2018 at Washington Park in Denver. People can register online by going to the website or in person at the event starting at 8 a.m.  The race starts near the entry to the park at Franklin and Mississippi.  Parking is at South High School near Gilpin and Louisiana.
  • The Race for Research raises funds for the Cancer League of Colorado, an all-volunteer operated charity that provides grants to cancer researchers at the University of Colorado Cancer Centers and to other charitable organizations in Colorado that provide services to cancer patients and their families.  Cancer League also funds certain clinical trials at UCCC.  Because Cancer League has no administrative offices or paid staff, all donations and funds raised go toward the mission of curing or containing cancer and stay right here in Colorado.
  • The Race for Research is one of four fundraising events for Cancer League, which grants more than $1 million each year to researchers and patient support organizations.  The Race for Research hopes to raise more than $120,000 at this year’s event.

Kathy Walsh is CBS4’s Weekend Anchor and Health Specialist. She has been with CBS4 since 1984. She is always open to story ideas. Follow Kathy on Twitter @WalshCBS4.


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