KATV Beyond the Game | Scott Williams’ Story with Glioblastoma
As seen on KATV.
Scott Williams knows how his story will end. Eventually, glioblastoma, the most aggressive type of brain tumor, will rear its ugly head.
But he can accomplish so much between now and then. He can make his own story one to smile about.
“One of the things that really gives me an advantage now is I know that having glioblastoma, I’m probably going to die of glioblastoma,” Williams said. “So each day is a gift.”
Perhaps it is this unobtrusive optimism that has allowed Scott to outlive the median life expectancy for someone his age, 61, by three months and counting.
“I think that Scott is a testament to the importance of hope and faith and teamwork with your family,” said Dr. Jonathan Pagan, a radiation oncologist at Carti Cancer Center in Little Rock. “I firmly believe that all of Scott’s hard work is why he is doing so well a year and a half out from his diagnosis.”
Williams said he started suffering headaches in August, 2019. Roughly four weeks later, he underwent surgery, followed by chemotherapy and radiation.
On the one year anniversary of his operation, he began to ride a bike again. He’s no professional cyclist, by any stretch, but as time went on, he set a lofty goal: completing all 444 miles of the scenic Natchez Trace. He grew up near the scenic byway in Mississippi, but he’s never seen all of it.
“I either do it now or I don’t do it,” Williams said.
He trained six days a week for seven months. The health benefits are immeasurable. Ever the optimist, Williams wondered how it could benefit others, too.
“As time went on, I started to ask the question, ‘why me’ in a different way. Why am I the guy who isn’t having horrible trouble?
“It allowed me to think, okay, there’s a reason why me, why I’m the guy who’s healthy. What can I do about that?”
He boldly reached out to one of his idols for help with logistics: Scott Hamilton, the famous figure skater and a fellow brain cancer survivor. His foundation is dedicated to funding research.
The meaningful mission was branded, “Erase the Trace.”
Statistics say Williams should have never reached the starting line. He completed all 444 miles in eight days, quicker than anticipated. He biked about 50 miles per day, overcoming hills, heat and his own emotions.
“It was times like that, I would think of the people I was riding for.”
He dedicated each day to different brain cancer patients. On the last day, he rode for Scott Hamilton. On the last leg, Hamilton hopped on his bike and joined Williams as they crossed the finish line.
“He’s always been a hero figure to me, and to hear him say to me that I was his hero, was really meaningful,” Williams said while holding back tears. “Really meaningful.”
They set out to raise $25,000. They raised more than $30,000. Even better, his most recent scans are encouraging.
There’s still more to accomplish. He’s planning to bike all 444 miles again next year and raise even more. He’s planning to continue pedaling hope.
“I just thought I was starting off doing a bike ride,” he said. “But people need hope. People with glioblastoma and people just doing life. People need hope. People need encouragement. People need to hear a good story.”