Inspirational story about how fitness combats major illness

May 28, 2014 

Thanks to the Herald in the May 20 edition for bringing to the Bradenton community and beyond the inspiring story of Laurie Codding, 53, of Venice, and her courageous fight against a unique case of cancer which spread from her breast to her eyes and throughout her body.

According to the Herald report, she had cancer in both retinas, one optic nerve, her thyroid, clavicle, lymph nodes, bones, spine, ribs, one lung and liver.

Codding's doctor, Steven Mamus, medical director of the Cancer Center of Sarasota and Manatee at 3501 Cortez Road, who has been seeing patients for 29 years, told the reporter, Richard Dymond, he'd never seen the first symptom of breast cancer reveal itself in the eye, as Codding's did.

What makes Codding's story even better is that she believes her fitness (she has often been mistaken for a body builder) has allowed her to be in a "remarkable remission," as Dr. Mamus put it.

She says that "every drug they gave me worked because they didn't have to interact with other drugs."

She attributes her good health to her hard work as a plumbing contractor since the 1980s, the first female in Florida to hold the job.

Immediately upon reading about this remarkable remission, I sent the story to our daughter, Kit Coddington, 65, of Boulder, Colo. who shortly after I had been diagnosed with Stage 4 non-Hodgkins lymphoma cancer of the bone-marrow at age 90, learned that she had a rare blood disease called Waldenstroms as well as non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

She had lugged USPS mailbags around Boulder's steep hills for 22 years and, now retired, she hikes and bikes, and walks neighbors' dogs around their home on Flagstaff Mountain.

What all of us can learn from Codding's positive attitude and good health is to follow her example and stay fit. Bradenton has so many beautiful parks, trails, rivers, lakes and gyms that there's no excuse not to.

Ruth M. Gill

Bradenton

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