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Family's fight against cancer

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'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Letter to the Editor
Friday, Dec. 7, 2012, 8:56 p.m.

Sometimes in the blink of an eye, life takes a sudden turn. On Sept. 1, 2011, my brother, Scott, was admitted to the hospital after an MRI found a tumor in his back. A CT scan the next day revealed more troubling news: more tumors. Someone who routinely ran 100 miles a month was now confined to a hospital bed, barely able to move without severe pain.

Four months prior, Scott was at his athletic peak, completing his very first marathon in Cincinnati, finishing in an astounding 3:45. Little did we know that, in all likelihood, he completed those 26.2 miles while in the early stages of lung cancer.

Scott's inner drive and determination while running were undeniable, and we felt that those traits could push him over the top in this battle. While there were setbacks, Scott persevered. However, for every step forward, lung cancer forced him two steps back. It was a hill he could not climb, and he lost his battle just days before Christmas at the age of 26.

Having never smoked in his life, how could lung cancer have stricken Scott? Sadly, doctors were never able to give us any answers.

We have set up the Scott A. Garet Memorial Foundation and have organized the Flying Monkey 5K Run/Walk in support of raised awareness and funds for lung cancer research. We have been able to meet many wonderful individuals, including those at the American Lung Association. Others are battling with us, fighting to shed light on this topic. Lung cancer does not just impact smokers. Something needs to be done, and I and my family will continue Scott's fight.

He would do the same for us.

Jonathan Garet

Washington, Pa.

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