Our New Yorker of the Week shows us there isn't a mountain high enough to stop him from reaching his dreams, like finding the cure for terminal a illness. NY1's John Schiumo filed this report.
Today, it's Prospect Park.
In January, it's conquering a dream.
Hiking Africa's Mount Kilimanjaro—a feat most people don't achieve.
But Stan Wagner is determined. Stan is living with cancer.
“Some people just dwell on the disease and don’t want to move forward and don’t want to live their life and I’m not going to let that happen to me," Wagner says.
Wagner was diagnosed with multiple myeloma four years ago.
The blood cancer weakens bones and reduces kidney function.
With targeted therapy, Wagner is in remission.
He knows he's one of the lucky ones.
“There are people that I know personally that started treatment about the same time that are not doing so well," Wagner says. "I just lost a friend who I met the first day of chemo and that kind of hit me hard.”
The fight against cancer inspires Wagner to take action.
The Brooklyn native co-founded “Team Living Proof.”
It's a group of patients, doctors, and supporters training to ascend Mount Kilimanjaro.
They pledged $150,000 to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation to help find a cure.
“When you’ve got a terminal disease, it’s pretty powerful and what’s really cool about the people that are taking this on is that they’re not letting multiple myeloma define them," says Alicia O-Neill, director of business development and partnerships at the foundation.
“You’re not only being active and getting outside and getting things done, but you’re also doing it for a really good cause, so it really is a spirit lifter," says Team Living Proof Co-Founder Jamie Slater.
Wagner's mindset empowers his teammates and his doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital.
“He really wants to live it up and it’s unpredictable, the cancer. It may come back in the future but now it is gone. So he really wants to engage himself in life. He’s an inspiration even for me," says Sundar Jagannath, professor of medicine at Mount Sinai.
“Getting through the rough spots, which you’re at the bottom of the mountain and getting to the summit which is, you know, success," Wagner says. "I got through all of this, you know, and I’m still here.”
Still here, and still inspiring others to climb to greater heights—and that's why Stan Wagner is our New Yorker of the week.
For more information or to donate to Team Living Proof visit teamlivingproof.squarespace.com.