ISHOF CEO Brent Rutemiller Continues to Battle Leukemia; Will Work With Mayo Clinic

brent-rutemiller-

ISHOF CEO Brent Rutemiller Continues to Battle Leukemia; Will Work With Mayo Clinic

Several months ago, Brent Rutemiller, the CEO of the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) and Publisher of Swimming World, revealed that he is battling a rare form of cancer. Today, Rutemiller provided an update on his medical situation, including the fact that he will soon be working with doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona.

In typical Rutemiller fashion, his letter is upbeat and encouraging. At points, there was a sense Rutemiller, a former coach, was rallying his team before a big meet. Throughout his ordeal, Rutemiller has faced his diagnosis with determination and a firm belief that he will claim victory. Already, he has taken major steps toward that outcome.

Here is the letter that Rutemiller sent out.

To ISHOF BOD, Staff and Friends,

Brent-Rutemiller-Mayo

Photo Courtesy: Brent Rutemiller

As you already know, I was diagnosed with a rare, aggressive cancer called Plasma Cell Leukemia 10 weeks ago over Memorial Day Weekend. Almost immediately, I started to get two Chemo treatments per week. The Chemo treatments have been manageable, and we have seen progress in reducing the cancer cells in my blood. We still have a long way to go, but it is all manageable.

I have not stopped working in my capacity as CEO of the International Swimming Hall of Fame and Publisher of Swimming World. The board and staff support has been amazing, and I feel that the corporation has not lost a step during my challenge. We hit record traffic during the Olympics thanks to the editorial staff!

Today is important because we made a huge step in my treatment plans, as I had my first visit to the Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Arizona. I am blessed that the clinic is only 20 minutes from my home.

Through the successful efforts of Ellen Rutemiller, my wife, to navigate all the paperwork and overcoming early rejection efforts by Mayo due to insurance problems, and Rob Butcher, CEO of Swim Across America – A non-profit corporation dedicated to raising funds for cancer research – we were able to get Dr. Rafael Fonseca, head of the hematology and oncology department, to be my lead Mayo doctor.

Today’s visit was very encouraging in that Mayo will take over treatment as early as next week and will adjust some of my treatment therapies to better target the cancer cells in my bone marrow.

They feel we can target the unwanted rogue protein cells that are out of control and bring them down to a normal range. I don’t have any organ issues and the kidneys are doing a great job filtering the large rogue cells and not allowing them to clog the urinary system. I have become a waterholic (dryland version) consuming 8 0z of water every 30 minutes.

The new therapies will be part of a research project and may require some regulatory approvals, but is something that has already been used with great success.

The downside is that I will have to continue with the therapies for about four more months before a stem cell replacement can be scheduled to knock this thing out. So that puts the stem cell treatment into the first part of 2022.

The interesting thing… Doctors think that this has been going on for a long-time (maybe decades) and finally got to the point of acceleration where it was measurable.

My take on that is… LOOK OUT! If we can achieve great things with one hand tied behind our backs…. I can’t wait to see what we can achieve next year when the lost energy levels of my youth return!

I am blessed to have a wonderful wife and supportive family and honored to be working with an incredible board, dedicated and loyal staff, trusted city mayor, passionate commissioners, and a visionary city manager.

Thanks in advance for your understanding and support. I truly feel that this will just be a footnote to all our success on the horizon.

4 comments

  1. avatar
    Judy Hasty

    Your positive attitude can save your life. Keep fighting!

  2. avatar
    Timothy Hill

    Prayers & thoughts go out to you Brent, along with the support of family & friends.

  3. avatar
    Jenny Haas Fardo

    Brent

    Our prayers and thoughts are with you for a complete recovery. You are strong and focused. You can beat this! Stay strong! The Haas family. Billie, Jenny, Jim, Michael and Leslie.

  4. avatar
    Jeff Farrell

    Brent,
    I hope that your treatment progresses well and that you will break some medical records. I’m on the side of the pool cheering for you.
    Jeff Farrell