SALT LAKE CITY, UT. (AP) — A Draper man recovering from skin cancer detected by his hair stylist last year during a routine haircut is feeling good and plans to run in the Salt Lake City Marathon on Saturday.
Rick Ortenburger, 70, found out from doctors he had melanoma after that haircut in June 2018. He has since had three surgeries is receiving monthly infusions of an immunotherapy drug, The Salt Lake Tribune reported .
He’s not sure if he would ever noticed that there was something different in the age spot on his face if the stylist hadn’t of pointed it out.
“I owe her my life,” Ortenburger said.
Melanoma accounts for about 1% of all skin cancers, but it causes the vast majority of skin cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.
He said his prognosis is good because the melanoma hasn’t spread to his organs.
As a longtime runner, he was excited to be able to sign up for the 10K race.
“If I have to walk it, I’ll do it,” Ortenburger said.
His wife Elfi Ortenburger is the running coach for a group they belong to that raises money for the Huntsman Cancer Center, where Rick Ortenburger gets treatment.
She said she’s impressed her husband is up for trying the race after what he’s been through.
“This year, we’re down to the 10K,” Elfi Ortenburger said. “But to us, it’s a big, huge deal.”
Rick Ortenburger said he’s felt different running since the operations and infusions and admits that he doesn’t know how he’ll do on Saturday. But, he’s just happy he’s well enough to try.
“I’m one lucky guy,” Rick Ortenburger said.