In January 2009, Cal MacDonald was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, one of the most dangerous forms of cancer. Cal entered treatment, but the cancer had already spread to several vital organs.
Cal and Chris decided that the cancer should also be fought to the finish line via tools that Cal himself could control. With a focus on diet, exercise, mental strength and recovery.
The doctors' verdict was clear, Cal was told he had between 4-6 months to live. Cal defied the doctors' prediction and extended his life after the diagnosis. On June 29, 2010, Cal MacDonald breathed his last and thus finally lost the battle against cancer. Was it the medical treatment or the focus on diet, exercise, mental strength and recovery that extended Cal's life? We don't know for sure, but it's probably a combination.
An ordinary man and an extraordinary effort
Cal's story is about an ordinary man who made an extraordinary effort. Cal had been overweight most of his adult life and he neither dieted nor exercised. In the years after his retirement, more and more kilos came on the side legs. Cal also struggled with an alcohol addiction, which he found difficult to recognize and therefore difficult to do anything about.
Seven years before his cancer diagnosis, Cal suddenly realized how much he had to lose if he continued his current lifestyle. He had come of age and was frightened to look at himself in the mirror - was it really going to end like this? Without him having done the many things he had put off when he was in his 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s?
No. Cal decided it was never too late to make a change and turned his life upside down overnight. He had set himself the goal of becoming strong enough to climb the highest mountain on America's west coast, the volcano Mount Rainier. As a former pilot, he had often flown over Mount Rainier and thereby grew his interest in and dream of climbing the mountain.
Mt. Rainier – a dream come true
Cal realized that if he was going to cross Mount Rainier off his wish list, 2008 was the year. In August 2008, after many months of preparation, Cal climbed Mt. Rainier together with Chris and a smaller crew. What an experience that, despite an advanced age, you can still fulfill your goals and dreams.
With Cal's new habits and lifestyle, the cancer diagnosis came as a shock to Cal and his entire family, but Cal lived an excellent life and had a good death. No regrets.