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May 25, 2022

6/22/2018 11:31:00 AM
Running, Swimming and Biking for a cure
Two women, one common condition, and never ending hope. This is a story of women, and their oncologist. On Saturday June 23, this team will ride, swim, and bike for a cause that has received limited funds for quite some time at Verona Triathlon.
Dodgeville native Erin Jacobson, 36, has participated in triathlons for about 10 years. Some of her favorite triathlons include Ironman WI and another in Door County. But that changed when she was diagnosed with Metastatic Breast Cancer (MBC). MBC, also referred to as stage four, which is breast cancer that spreads to other areas of the body such as bones, lungs, liver, and brain. Once breast cancer has spread, it is officially deemed a terminal disease that has no cure. It has been said that the median life expectancy for MBC is about three years. Approximately 40,000 people die every year from MBC, and about 113 people die from it every day.
Jacobson was diagnosed with breast cancer in October 2016, after fracturing her back during Ironman training. The cancer was already metastasized at the time of diagnosis. On the day before Thanksgiving of that same year, she began treatments.
Hope has never faded and Jacobson realized that she needs to keep living. Her diagnosis of MBC has not kept her down, as she eventually became healthy enough to continue training in preparation for triathlon events. She had recently come back from a trip in Maine and it was a spur of the moment thing. The "keep on keeping on" mindset has allowed her to do spontaneous things such as travelling. She has also been able to spend time with her husband Marc, and their springer spaniel Louie while living in Spring Green. She also works at Upland Hills Health.
"It's important to not let life pass you by," Jacobson advised. "I know it sounds cliché, but it's true. I love to travel."
When she learned of her diagnosis, she also learned about an online campaign, created by a woman who has the same condition.
Mary Gooze, of Oregon, has a great passion for swimming. Her story began in January 2012, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She went through a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation. Almost two years after her last radiation treatment, she received the painful news informing her that she had MBC.
When Gooze realized the extent of her condition, she decided to continue her passion for swimming and use it as a platform for MBC awareness and funding. The idea fully emerged during a trip to an Arizona state park with her husband Rob. She recalled the air temperature being around 80 degrees, but the water temperature was much colder, at 56 degrees. She put up a sign stating that she was swimming to inform people about MBC and raise funds for the cause. When she got out of the lake, a stranger asked her what she was doing swimming in such cold water temperatures. She explained her story to him and after their conversation, the gentleman made a donation.
"After that, I realized maybe this would work," Gooze said.
Since then, she has swam in over 48 bodies of water to raise awareness and educate people about MBC. Gooze is also the founder of the One Woman Many Lakes campaign, created three years ago. The campaign combines Gooze's passion for swimming and provides awareness, and funding towards MBC.
While breast cancer in general receives a substantial amount in research funding, only less than 10% of breast cancer research funds go toward MBC. The Gooze family met with UW Carbonne Cancer Center, and all proceeds from One Woman Many Lakes go towards a fund focusing on MBC. Gooze also said that it is important to get in front of legislation and cancer institutes and provide education and research on MBC.
"Research is our best hope on this in order to find a cure," Gooze said. "I'm hoping we're making a difference."
After reaching out to Gooze, Jacobson realized that they both have Dr. Yamil Arbaje as their oncologist. They also learned that their oncologist has the same passion for triathlons as they do. That common interest formed a team.
The "Two Breast Friends and Tumornator" team will participate in the Verona Triathlon this coming Saturday. In the original plan, Jacobson would run, Gooze would swim, and Arbaje would bike. However, Jacobson had learned that her cancer had spread to her hips and a spot on her liver was also found. She underwent radiation treatment, and was able to get back on the bike as of two weeks ago. So that she could compete, Arbaje will run, Gooze will swim and Jacobson will bike.
The team, racing together, hopes to make a difference, sharing their passion and also provide education towards MBC.
"It touches everybody," Jacobson said. "It's having fun and showing people that we can make a difference."
One fan in the team's corner is Kathy Honerbaum, Jacobson's mother. She is proud of her daughter's perseverance and looks forward to see her enjoying something she loves, alongside her team members.
"They're really excited to do it," Honerbaum said. "I'm really happy she feels she can do this."
The Triathlon starts Saturday June 23 at 7 a.m. at Fireman's Park in Verona. For more information on the campaign, please visit

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