Man's cancer ‘3-peat' brings rising light to dark disease

Rising 3-peat win over cancer


It's a big number for Cleveland Heights native Nathan Mumford.

He has beaten three different cancers three different times -- and he's only 36-years-old.

“He really doesn’t like any attention,” says Alicia Miranda, a west side mother who met Mumford when she was battling cancer in 2010.  

Miranda and Mumford, who were strangers at the time,  were at a play with breast cancer as its theme.

“I was crying the whole way through," says Miranda. "Nathan just happened to be sitting next to me and grabbed my hand and held my hand the whole time. Little did I know he was a two-time cancer survivor.”

At the time of their meeting Mumford had already beaten Hodgkin’s Lymphoma at the age of 11 and Leukemia at 26. He says he was given a 100 percent chance to die when he was diagnosed with Leukemia.

“I had a trial treatment, which was called the umbilical cord blood transplant and it saved my life,” says Mumford.

A devastating loss

If battling two cancers by the age of 26 wasn’t enough, Mumford’s mother, Karen, was diagnosed with breast cancer while he was in college. The cancer went into remission but returned while Mumford was battling Leukemia. 

Karen Mumford died from the effects of breast cancer in the summer of 2005 at the age of 57.

“I wanted to do something that meant something -- not just to Cleveland, but to this world,” says Mumford. “I wanted to name it after my mother.”

Mumford started the Karen E. Mumford Cancer Foundation in 2007. The foundation’s goals are to generate support for cancer research and provide programs and services for cancer patients and their caregivers.

Mumford Cares

“He was support for my kids. He was support for my mother. He was support for my husband,” says Miranda who is currently cancer free. “I wouldn’t been able to get through (breast cancer) the way that I did without Nathan and the Karen E. Mumford Cancer Foundation.”

He's proud of his accomplishments too.

“To be able to do something for someone else it really brightens my day and makes my heart smile,” says Mumford. “And then on top of that I think it goes back again to my family. … we try to just spread love.”

It was the love of his family, especially his wife, Camille, that helped Mumford fight his third cancer in 2014. This time it was colon cancer.

“She looked me dead in my eyes and said ‘let’s beat another one,’” says Mumford.

He spent a majority of 2014 battling colon cancer and was deemed free of the disease by the end of the year; an accomplishment he calls his “3-Peat.” 

Mumford is meeting Miranda and other women impacted by cancer October 6 for the foundation’s Karen Cares program. The women will be pampered for the day, something Mumford's mother Karen longed for while she was going through cancer treatments.

The date of the annual event is special for the Mumford family because October 6 is Karen Mumford's birthday.

The foundation hosts the Karen Cares event twice a year in October and June.


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