Biking has always meant a lot to Don Eagon. Being introduced to the sport by his mother-in-law, he developed a love for biking in his mid-20s and shared this same passion with his own family. Little did he know, that at the age of 70, doctors would attribute his love for the sport to possibly saving his life.
Once he retired, Don began to focus on his riding even more. As he began to ride everyday and eat clean, he shifted his vision towards competing in the Senior Olympics in 2013. However, once he began to intensely train, he developed severe back pain. As the injury continued, Don could no longer chalk it up to his riding and went to see a doctor.
Unfortunately, his test results indicated that Don had developed cancer in his left kidney and part of his right lung. Though the cancer hadn’t metastasized, the doctors determined it best to surgically remove the kidney and the lower lobe of the lung in two separate procedures.
Though most people would become overwhelmed by this news, Don could only think of getting back on his bike as soon as possible. He could no longer compete in the Senior Olympics, but still had several aspirations to achieve which included: getting back on the bike in time for his birthday, compete in 2 tours by the end of the year and spend some time with his son riding in Tennessee.
Don’s great shape from his healthy lifestyle gave his doctors the confidence to schedule the first surgery immediately on Sept. 23, 2013 to have a portion of his lung taken out. After a short recovery period, Don’s kidney was removed on Dec. 4th of that same year. By the New Year, he was cancer free, but Don still had his mind set on his 3 goals that he had set before surgery.
Once Don started to recover, he began to slowly work toward his goal. Don amazed his family and even his doctors when he was able to get back on the bike in March.
Due to his ambition and dedication, Don was able to achieve the goals he had set months ago. On April 16th, his birthday, he was able to get back on the road and ride 45 miles. He has also competed in 2 tours including the Sweet Corn Challenge.
However, one of his most rewarding accomplishments was the chance to hop back on the bike and ride with his son Steve over the hills of Tennessee.
Thanks to Don’s active and healthy lifestyle, he and his son Steve are still able to enjoy riding together. This past Memorial Day weekend, Don came from Ohio down to Tennessee for four days of riding with his bike club. “We wore our Swiftwick socks with pride. They are the most comfortable sock I have ever worn.”
When asked about life after his surgeries, Don said, “Don’t look back. Take yourself as you are and be better.”
You can’t always control what life throws your way, but Don Eagon, a fellow Swiftwick lover, is a great inspiration to pursue your passions and continue to do what moves you.