Hope to carry Team Bogart to Relay finish line

By Sara Bruestle | Jul 03, 2013
Photos by: Sara Bruestle Adam and Julie Bogart, of Mukilteo, will walk in Mukilteo's first Relay For Life event July 13-14 around the Kamiak High School track as part of Team Bogart. Adam is a survivor of stage 4 colon cancer.

Known for their Relay wedding, Adam and Julie Bogart of Team Bogart will walk the Kamiak High School track for the first ever Mukilteo Relay For Life on July 13-14.

Adam, 40, is a two-year survivor of stage 4 colon cancer. He said their team motto “Have Hope” and the support from his wife, Julie, and their four children have kept him fighting.

“I’ve been doing really well,” Adam said. “I try not to waste a day. I try to eat right, work hard, and make sure nobody outworks me in a day.”

When he was diagnosed, the doctors told him he had 12-18 months to live. At 37, the cancer had spread to the lymph nodes, the surrounding tissues, and to his liver. His diagnosis had been missed for years.

Nearly three years later, Adam’s cancer is in remission. He finished chemo a year ago on May 4, and his tumor markers are well below normal. He even had his port (a medical appliance for injecting drugs into the body) removed last week, a milestone for cancer survivors.

“The doctors can’t figure it out, when they see his numbers,” Julie said. “They say, ‘You could be the poster child for stage 4 cancer.’”

Adam and Julie, of Mukilteo, renewed their vows at the Relay for Life in Lake Stevens last year after 16 years of marriage. Julie won a wedding through a Relay for Life essay contest.

They said their second wedding was made even more special than their first.

“By far, it meant way more than the first time,” Julie said. “You honestly know what your vows mean this time when you say ‘in sickness and in health.’”

Since he was diagnosed, Adam has been eating healthier and exercising daily. He’s lost 30 pounds so far.

His diet did a 180 after he was diagnosed: He ate lots of beef and processed foods before. The only vegetable to reach his plate was corn.

Now, he eats lots of green vegetables, fish and vitamins. If a food has an ingredient he can’t pronounce, he won’t eat it.

“I had to make a change, or I was going to get the same result,” Adam said. “I didn’t have a choice. There’s no way I can leave her and the kids.”

Adam also rides his bike 10 miles a day during the week and 25 miles on weekends. If it’s raining, he works out at the YMCA for an hour. He’s now in training to ride 150 miles.

As a pledge for Relay For Life, his goal is to bike from Mukilteo to Toledo, Wash., on Sept. 2 – which marks a year after his surgery to remove his liver. He’ll wear a T-shirt signed by Mukilteo Relayers on the ride.

He’s determined to do the ride to Toledo for other survivors out there.

“Hold on to hope,” he said. “If I can say I can make it, I don’t know I’m right. If I say I am finished, I can say that’s for sure.”

Diet and exercise seem to be helping Adam. His numbers are great now – but it could all change with one test. He was told he has a 25 percent chance to live.

Every three months, Adam gets his markers tested, and every six months he gets a CT scan.

“You’re always one blood test away, so all I’ve got is today,” Adam said. “I do all I can. It’s not about me; it’s about the kids. I have to be a good role model.”

He said his support doesn’t stop with his wife and kids, Emerson, 7, Carson, 8, Payton, 14, and Madison, 16. There is also the support of the YMCA, his church and his friends, who formed the original Team Bogart to help his family through his chemo and surgeries.

The Relay For Life of Mukilteo, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, will be held July 13-14 at Kamiak High School. The 21-hour event starts at noon on Saturday and ends at 9 a.m. Sunday. A luminaria ceremony will start at 10 p.m. Saturday.

At least one member from each of about 30 teams will walk Kamiak’s track at all times with the goal of raising $60,000.

Team Bogart has raised $200 so far. The team had a goal of $2,000, but then Julie’s mom was diagnosed with colon cancer, and Julie needed neck surgery soon after. Fundraising had to be put on hold.

They hope to make up some of the difference with Adam’s 150-mile bike ride in September.

“Everybody wants to tell you that somebody has died from cancer,” Julie said. “Well, here’s someone who lived. We’re the reminder that there is hope.”

Donate to Adam’s Kickin’ Cancer in the Colon fundraiser at www.relayforlife.org/mukilteowa. The deadline for donations is Aug. 31.

For more information or to join a Relay team, call 206-947-4717 or email TurgeonRelay@comcast.net.

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