By Madison Loethen
Marc Wright dedicated his life to serving his community. He spent his 25-years-plus career serving with both the Columbia Fire Department and Boone Hospital Center Emergency Medical Team. So when the community learned that Marc was fighting cancer, of course, it wanted to return the favor.
Marc first learned of his cancer diagnosis in 2014, when he was diagnosed with colon cancer. He underwent surgery to remove a softball-sized tumor, which was followed by chemotherapy. After 12 rounds of chemo, Marc found out his cancer had moved to his liver. He underwent a 17-hour surgery to remove the two tumors that had developed. This was followed another 12 rounds of chemo. His tests came back clear for a few months, but the cancer had returned to his liver, leading to more chemo. Marc now has cancer in his liver, two lymph nodes, and one of his lungs.
Marc receives treatment at Missouri Cancer Associates from Mark Tungesvik, MD, someone Marc says has truly helped him through his journey.
“Dr. Tungesvik has just been fabulous. We’re fortunate to have such great doctors here in mid-Missouri.”
Dr. Tungesvik says it has been a pleasure to get to know Marc, and he now considers him family.
“He is a joy to be around. The true nature of a man is revealed when he is confronted with extraordinary challenges. Marc has proven himself to be a strong man of faith. He is an inspiration to us all. To walk with him in his journey, to share in his adventure, is an honor. May we all be as strong as Marc when we are put to the test,” says Dr. Tungesvik.
Marc’s friends, Tommy Goran and Jeff Strawn from the Columbia Fire Department, came up with the idea for a fundraiser to Marc. They wanted to have a dinner and auction to raise money to send him to New York City to ride along with the New York Fire Department’s Rescue Company 1, something that has always been Marc’s dream.
“When they first came to me with the idea, I wanted to say no because those guys have already done so much for me. But they insisted, and I was overwhelmed by the kindness of my friends,” says Marc.
The fundraiser was held in October and was a huge success. Hundreds of people turned out to support Marc. Donations were made by people and businesses all over mid-Missouri. The event ended up raising around $15,000 – 12 thousand more they had needed. The additional funds are being donated to charitable organizations in the community.
Marc says his trip was awesome. He spent a whole day riding along with Rescue 1 and was also able to visit the National September 11 Memorial.
“The trip was amazing. The 9/11 Memorial was overwhelming. I just tried to take it all in and think about what that day meant for our country and those who serve. Riding along with Rescue 1 was a tremendous experience. I made a lot of new friendships. The fire station has such an amazing history,” says Marc.
Marc says he will always be grateful for the community allowing one of his dreams to come true, but for now, he’s just happy to be back home with the people he loves.