Thursday, April 28, 2011

UW track team to sell "Let's Roll" bands at UW/WSU dual to help sprinter Jeff Gudaitis...

Whether you support the Crimson & Grey of Washington State, or the Purple & Gold of the University of Washington at Friday's dual meet at Husky Stadium, members of the UW track team will be selling purple and black rubber bracelets to help Husky sprinter Jeff Gudaitis (below/photo courtesy University of Washington) defray some of his medical expenses.

Gudaitis, who is a fifth-year senior on the track team, was diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, and had his thyroid removed before Christmas.

In this piece written at by Gregg Bell, he writes about how Gudaitis in late March was isolated in a far corner of the UW Medical Center, away from other patients, months after the removal of his thyroid.

"They (doctors from the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance) brought in this little aluminum suitcase," Gudaitis told Bell.

"Inside that was a metal pod. It said, `RADIOACTIVE' on it. And inside that was this little pill. One of the doctors goes, `All right. Swallow this as fast as you can. And then we are going to run out of the room.'"

The pill was radioactive iodide. It's a chimney-sweep treatment taken months after thyroid-removal surgery, with the hopes of eradicating remaining cancer from the body.

That was a $60,000 pill he swallowed.

Members of the team, led by sprint coach Raul Sheen, track strength coach Audra Smith, and volunteer assistant coach and recent Husky grad Falesha Ankton will sell the bands, which are $5 each at the meet, and at the post-meet alumni function.

According to Ankton, the team has raised $2500 to help Jeff out, whose expenses has gone into six digits. Portions of his medical costs are covered by his family's insurance.

Gudaitis is planning to petition the NCAA to compete as a sixth-year senior in 2012.  He missed the 2010 season with a foot injury, after a career that took him to three NCAA championship meets.

Here's a link to Bell's piece at

Here's a link to a piece that Bell wrote on Gudaitis at the end of January after he had his thyroid removed.

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