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Helmut Schmidt, Published October 25 2012

Terminal cancer doesn’t stop ‘Team Ian’

WEST FARGO – Ian Alves always showed determination as a runner, and he’s done it in his fight against cancer, too.

Now his West Fargo High School cross country and track teammates are honoring that determination with a fundraising run for the junior.

They’re holding a Team Ian Run on Nov. 3, with the proceeds going to Alves’ family.

Ian competed for the Packers in track and cross country as a freshman.

“He’s just a really great guy,” senior Austin Albrecht said. “We really wanted to do this for him. He’s still part of the team.”

Alves, 16, has fought two aggressive forms of cancer in the past 17 months. But it’s a battle he won’t win, his mother Lise Alves said Thursday.

Ian’s had two major operations to remove tumors caused by desmoplastic small round cell tumor, plus rounds of radiation and chemotherapy.

He also developed acute myeloid leukemia, Lise Alves said. It’s a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

The whipsaw of competing treatments for the cancers has left Ian drained and his body damaged, Lise Alves said.

And the DSRCT “has spread drastically despite all the treatments,” Lise Alves said.

Ian’s father died of brain cancer six and a half years ago, she said.

“He said, ‘Mom, I’m going home to see Jesus and to see dad.’ He just said, ‘I’m OK with this.’ ” Lise Alves said.

Last week, Ian decided to live the next few months to the fullest. No more school. And the family is planning a trip to Disney World, she said.

“Ian has totally decided that he’s sick and tired of being sick and tired,” Lise Alves said.

Ian declined to be interviewed.

Senior Darin Baltezore said the Team Ian Run is a tribute to their teammate.

“We share a bond with him through our running,” Baltezore said.

Seeing what Ian’s been through has changed Baltezore’s outlook on life.

“You need to be grateful for all the opportunities you’ve been given,” he said.

Brad Amundson, West Fargo High’s assistant track and cross country coach, said Ian is one of the strongest young people he’s met in terms of integrity and grit.

“He really has been an inspiration for the track distance team and for the cross country team,” Amundson said. “He’s been a real uniter.”

A jeans and hat day at the high school raised more than $700 for Ian and his family, Amundson said.

The Nov. 3 event consists of two races, starting at 9 a.m. on the high school track. The cost is $25 to run the 5K race, and $15 to run or walk the one-mile race. A shirt is included.

To preregister, go to cpcwf.org/teamian. Registration will also be held the day of the event, starting about 7:30 a.m.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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