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Bellevue doc rides against cancer

Dr. Anthony Egnal - Submitted
Dr. Anthony Egnal
— image credit: Submitted

Bellevue physician Dr. Antony Egnal wants to defeat cancer. Specifically, he’s supporting the Canary Foundation at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle that is working to develop a simple blood test to detect early cancer by 2015.

“That’s a tall order,” Egnal said.

So, too, is the lengths he’s willing to go to make it happen - specifically the 180 miles he will ride from Vancouver, B.C. to Seattle today and Sunday to raise money for the cause.

For Egnal, the fight is personal.

Egnal was adopted as a child and only reunited with his birth family after 40 years. A biological brother, Colin, whom he finally met, died of cancer last fall.

“Colin Langman was one special guy,” Egnal said. “Although we only met a few times - we spoke often by phone during the last eight years. His love of life, his family and community was evident in the way he conducted his life until the very end.”

Egnal has been with Eastside Family Medicine for 25 years, 17 of them as a partner. Cancer has touched others close to him there, too.

“In addition, I lost a very close college of 12 years,” Egnal added. “Eric Stout passed away one year earlier than Colin. We worked very closely together at Eastside Family Medicine - sharing a busy practice. Most of our patients would seamlessly move between us for their care. We still feel his loss today and will forever.”

Egnal said that he has noticed a large number of close patients and friends - all in the forties - be diagnosed/treated with cancer over the last two years.

“Even as a physician who deals with this every day - its hard to grasp the magnitude of this epidemic,” Egnal said. “I feel I need to do more than what I’m trained to do.”

Egnal hopes the tight economy doesn’t keep people from supporting the ride.

“I know we are all feeling the pinch of the current economic crisis,” Egnal said, “but cancer knows nothing of a down turn in the market or a weak economy. It continues to affect people in good times and bad.”

Egnal has raised over $10,500 to date.

“Our team is up to over $35,000,” he said.

The international eight-person team he’s on includes two other Eastsiders plus four from British Columbia and one from New Zealand.

Egnal has been voted a “Top Doctor” by Seattle Magazine and is a clinical instructor in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Washington. He’s also chairman of the Family Practice Department at Overlake Hospital Medical Center and serves as Secretary of Treasury, Medical Executives at Overlake.

Married with two children, Egnal said he enjoys hiking, skiing, good food and jazz. Add bicycling to that list. And defeating cancer.

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