Towne Salute: Bill Shrieves of St. Michaels Rotary
Apr 07, 2017 10:59AM ● Published by Cate Reynolds
Bill Shrieves of McDaniel, Maryland is an avid volunteer, a marathon runner, and most of all a beacon of hope for those who have been diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer. At age 70, the upbeat gentleman has not only finished his fourth Marine Corps marathon, but is also in his sixth year of having survived pancreatic cancer. Considering that over 42,000 people will die in the first five to seven months after being diagnosed, Bill has beaten all odds.
Who could blame Shrieves if he were to slow down after such a life-changing battle, but instead, he has turned his struggles into an inspiring force to be reckoned with. Devoting most of his energy to founding the Midshore for Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, Shrieves has still been active in the political side of the battle, lobbying with 695 other people to request funding for the research for a cure. Beyond the patient themselves, Bill is also a force behind the research and studies currently being developed for the disease.
“I joined a study at John Hopkins where they work on narrowing down which genes are mutated in Pancreatic Cancer so that we may be able to detect the cancer sooner,” Shrieves says.
In addition to his active contributions to helping others battle one of the deadliest cancers possible, Shrieves has continually served on the board of his local rotary club on St. Michaels. Bill has been a member of the St. Michaels Rotary for 17 years. He is a past president of the club and a Paul Harris Fellow, which recognizes his personal contributions of more than $1,000 to The Rotary Foundation of Rotary International.
In 2016, he made a commitment to run the Marine Corps Marathon in D.C. He had run the same marathon multiple years in a row previously. “I ran it three years in a row, which was before the diagnosis in 2010,” Shrieves says. Eventually, when I turned 70, it felt like a milestone with everything going on and I wondered if I could do it again. The main hope was that people would cheer me on by donating to provide support for pancreatic cancer.”
Shrieves began training for this Marine Corps marathon six months before the race. “I trained by regularly building up the distance,” Shrieves says. Eventually I was running four miles twice a week and then on Sundays a long run, which eventually turned into the full 26.2 miles. On weekends I would run a 5k or do intervals.”
With the foundation standing strong behind him, Shrieves was able to finish the race on October 30th. “At mile 19 it was a long stretch, in full scorching sunlight, and it got really tough, but if I’ve learned anything from cancer it’s to keep pressing on,” Shrieves says.
In the end, Shrieves had finished the race and raised a considerable amount of funds for the foundation. “We actually raised $2,400 and as if that wasn’t enough, the foundation ran a 10k across the Bay Bridge the following weekend,” Shrieves says. We are a very active group.”
When Shrieves discusses his recovery from cancer, you won’t find a tone of defeat or an attitude of weariness. Instead, he is fully energetic and eager to pass on his experience and hope to others who are affected. “Anyone touched by cancer has a dramatic change where things that were important don’t matter anymore,” Shrieves admits. “It’s a very strong refocus.” As a survivor himself, Shrieves is able to give sound advice to those currently fighting cancer. “Information is the most helpful to someone currently in the battle,” he explains. Being able to talk to someone who has been through it often serves as a comfort and a guide. Support groups are also a powerful tool.”
From running marathons, leading the Midshore Pancreatic Cancer Foundation, to being on the board of the St. Michael’s Rotary Club, Bill Shrieves has proven himself to be a survivor and outstanding member of the community.