Tag Archives: Arnie Goodman

Continuing to Beat Cancer with a Paddle

By Corrie Seabrook

ArnieGoodman3Arnie Goodman slides his legs until they touch the end of his shallow kayak. He grips the paddle and glides along the water flowing through Riverfront Park in Tampa. He’s paddling just as he has done on this day for the past five years. The myeloma cancer is working through his body, dangerously. But Goodman keeps paddling, for himself and for a cure.

Goodman, 54, grew up in the waters off Fort Lauderdale. There he boated and sailed through the east coast waves. When he moved to Tampa he was introduced to kayaking, where he fell in love with the sport.

“It became my love,” he says.

At 47, he was a practicing ear, throat and nose physician and continued to swim and kayak regularly. Then he was diagnosed with myeloma cancer. He, his wife and their two kids stared into what was left of the time that this cancer had cut short.

He has dealt with the disease for more than seven years. Since the treatment is so extensive and time consuming, Goodman stopped practicing medicine. A year after the diagnosis, he formed the non-profit organization, Beat Cancer with a Paddle. Though the organization, Goodman, Russell Farrow (owner of Sweetwater Kayaks) and other sponsors created the “Sweetwater Paddle for the Cure” race in 2009.

This year’s event takes place on Sunday, May 5 from Tampa’s Riverfront Park.

SweetwaterThe race started with individuals and groups competing in kayaks. Then one year a man showed up with a stand-up paddleboard. “We thought, who’s this buff guy out there on a surfboard?” Goodman says. As the years have progressed, more and more paddle boarders have accompanied the kayakers.

The Sweetwater Paddle for the Cure doesn’t solely include endurance athletes. Parents bring their children to enjoy the day on the water in double kayaks. Beginners come to fall and try again on the kayak and paddleboard rentals.

“Paddleboard companies that work with us, Stand Up Paddle Life and Urban Kai, provide the boards and demo for those who want it,” Goodman says.

The participants set up in a staggered line. The gun blasts and the racers paddle off. The course takes the boarders down past the Tampa Convention Center and under the bridge. They swirl around three buoys up the channel and then hurry back to the finish.

The event’s target audiences are paddlers, newcomers to the sport, and those who come to support the cause. (All proceeds from the event benefit the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and Be The Match National Bone Marrow Registry.) The event consists of a 5-mile race for time at 9 a.m. The second race is a 2-mile family fun paddle around the course. The event has raised more than $35,000 since 2009.

Goodman predicts that “the paddle boarders will probably outnumber the kayakers this year.”

This is the first year this race has become officially sanctioned by the World Paddle Association. It’s also the first time it will include a tie-in to firefighters.

Sweetwater2Tampa’s fire department will be volunteering alongside high school students. A unique race called the Firemen’s Challenge Relay will be set up specifically for the different firehouses to put their training to the test. These firefighters will sprint against each other for trophies and the cause.

Last fall Goodman endured a bone marrow transplant. He’s also undergone two stem cell transplants. Multiple myeloma accounts for just 1 percent of cancer cases but has claimed the lives of a number of prominent Americans, including Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, syndicated advice columnist Ann Landers, and former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

After treatments, Goodman puts his energy into making this event a success despite how he feels. “It helps me to tolerate the side effects. You have to force yourself to do something even if you don’t feel good,” he says.

Recently Goodman received an email from a man suffering with myeloma. He expressed that he was coming from his home in New York to do the race. Goodman felt good from the impact he had made to someone in such a personal way.

Goodman continues to chug through his life kayaking with the cancer moving through his body like the river does beneath his vessel.

“I want people to remember this race and come back again. I’m going to keep going for as long as I can.”

Corrie Seabrook is an intern for EnduranceSportsFlorida.com and ObstacleFit.com.

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Race of the Week: Sweetwater Paddle for the Cure

By Pete Williams

Arnie Goodman almost called off his fourth-annual  “Sweetwater Paddle for the Cure,” which raises money for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Goodman, a Tampa physician who has been battling the disease for six years, has been undergoing another round of chemotherapy and figures he might not be able to appear at the event, which will go on as scheduled on Saturday (May 5) at 8:30 a.m. from Tampa’s Riverfront Park.

“I’ve been really sick, the disease is catching up with me,” said Goodman, 54. “But when I started talking about calling it off, my friends stepped up to make this happen and pull it together. I’m hoping to make an appearance.”

Multiple myeloma accounts for just 1 percent of cancer cases but has claimed the lives of a number of prominent Americans, including Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, syndicated advice columnist Ann Landers, and former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

Goodman, who has undergone two stem cell transplants and spoke extensively with EnduranceSportsFlorida.com about his battle last year, has written extensively about the disease online. In 2009, he created the “Sweetwater Paddle for the Cure,” which began as a 5-mile kayak race and a 2-mile family fun paddle through downtown Tampa. That year, just one stand-up paddle boarder entered. Last year SUP enthusiasts outnumbered kayakers and Goodman says more than 200 total paddlers are expected this year between the two events.

In addition to the two paddles, there will be a benefit concert at The Lodge Restaurant and Bar in South Tampa the night before the race, May 4, from 5:30 to 8:30. Registration for the race is available online as well as the day of the event.

“I’ve been dealing with this disease for a number of year and thought I had it under control, but am hitting a bad spot right now,” Goodman said. “Once it became clear I probably wasn’t going to make it, every one of my friends said they’d step up and make it happen, and that’s pretty cool. I’m very grateful for the support.”

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Paddling for a Cure

ESF’s ENDURING ATHLETE OF THE MONTH – APRIL

By Pete Williams

Arnie Goodman and friend

Five years ago, Arnie Goodman was at the top of his game. At 47, he had a thriving practice as an ear, nose, and throat physician. Married and a father of two, he threw himself into endurance sports, especially cycling, swimming, and kayaking.

But something didn’t seem quite right. He became out of breath quickly while working out with his Saturday morning training group. Colleagues he always outran now were blowing by.

Test revealed multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells in bone marrow. Multiple myeloma accounts for just 1 percent of cancer cases but has claimed the lives of a number of prominent Americans, including Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton, syndicated advice columnist Ann Landers and, more recently, former vice presidential candidate Geraldine Ferraro.

Goodman has written extensively about the disease online and in 2009 created the “Sweetwater Paddle for the Cure,” which began as a 5-mile kayak race and a 2-mile fun paddle through downtown Tampa. That year, just one stand-up paddle boarder entered. This year, the Tampa physician, now 52, expects SUP enthusiasts to outnumber kayakers. All proceeds go toward the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Goodman has undergone two stem cell transplants, including one at the end of 2010 following a relapse. He’s gradually getting back to a normal workout regimen. The longtime kayaker hopes to become proficient in stand-up paddle boarding this year.

Endurance Sports Florida talked with Goodman about his fight and the upcoming Sweetwater Paddle for the Cure, which begins from Riverfront Park in downtown Tampa on Saturday, May 7 at 8:30 a.m.

Q: What went through your mind when you got the diagnosis of multiple myeloma?

A: It was a shock. I was always a fitness nut who ate very healthy. I kept myself in pretty good shape and was always a big believer in fitness and nutrition before I was diagnosed. The last thing you think is you’re going to get cancer and friends said I was the last person they would expect to get it. So I did all the right things and still go it, which shows that if it can happen to me it can happen to anyone.

Q: What’s happening in your body when you have multiple myeloma?

A: Basically in your blood you have plasma cells, which are a type of white blood cells that produce the antibodies that fight infection. Multiple myeloma is a cancer of those cells. One of those cells goes crazy and overproduces, initially in the bone marrow, creating these holes and lesions which create fractures, cause anemia and compromise the immune system. There’s no cure, unfortunately, but it is treatable and there have been huge advances in the last five or 10 years. People are living much longer than before, but unfortunately it’s not a curable cancer. All the money for our event goes to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and they’re laser-focused on new drug development for multiple myeloma and have been tremendously successful at bringing new drugs to market and prolonging life for people with the disease.

Q: You’ve undergone two stem cell transplants. What’s entailed with that procedure?

A: It’s actually more of a transfusion where your own cells are harvested. You’re given a medication to stimulate the stem cells, which are then harvested by an intravenous catheter. You’re given high doses of chemotherapy, which wipes out the bone marrow and immune system. The stem cells are given back to you and those are used to jumpstart your bone marrow again. The problem is that there’s a period of 10 days to two weeks after the chemotherapy where you’re waiting for the stem cells to take where you have no immune system at all. So you’re really prone to infection and have to be in the hospital pretty much all that time.

Goodman out on the water

Q: How much training have you been able to do?

A: I went through the most recent transplant over Christmas and by the end of January I got back to working out. I’ve been slowing building up from there, back to swimming and cycling, almost to where I was before. I’m doing really good and getting back to normal life and a normal activity level. I do have some pain in my ribs but I don’t seem to feel it when I’m cycling. I do make sure to stick with calmer water when I kayak.

Q: The race is for a great cause but it seems like it’s popular for other reasons. Why do you think that is?

A: People love the course. It’s a great way to see downtown Tampa from the water. The college and high school crew teams have known about it for years. The course takes you through downtown Tampa, the convention center, Marriott Waterside, and Harbor Island. It really highlights downtown Tampa. We also reach out to all kinds of paddlers from the serious kayak and paddle boarders to those who have never paddled and, of course, those who have a connection to multiple myeloma. The reason we have two races is so there’s something for the competitive people – a five-mile race – and a two-mile family fun paddle for those with little or no experience. We have rental boats and boards available so that’s no a barrier either.

Q: What’s the status of multiple myeloma research?

A: The pipeline of drugs for the disease is unbelievable. There are no less than a dozen drugs in the pipeline; a couple will get FDA approved this year. They just mapped the genome for multiple myeloma within the last month or two. The future looks great and I’m just hoping it comes soon enough.

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