If all goes according to plan, cancer survivor Kyle Garlett will compete in October's Ford Ironman World Championship, a grueling triathlon made up of a 2.4-mile ocean swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile run. And he'll do it with another man's heart pumping in his chest. "I don't think there's anybody who wouldn't consider me a success story and a survivor," Garlett said.
His medical issues began in 1989 when he received his first Hodgkin's disease diagnosis as a high school senior. In 1995, during his third battle with the cancer, doctors ceased his chemotherapy treatment when they discovered it had weakened his heart. Two years later, Garlett learned he had secondary leukemia as a result of chemotherapy to treat the Hodgkin's, and three more years of chemotherapy ensued. And after five years on the waiting list, he received a new heart in 2006.
Now, the 37-year-old savors his body's capabilities. "It's kind of like the starving person who all of a sudden finds himself in front of a buffet. And now I've got the buffet. I've got my all-you-can-eat plate, and I'm just loading it up," Garlett said.