By kalea hall
Mark Sorrentino is fighting cancer, but that isn’t going to stop him.
He is still working at his own business, Sorrentino’s Orthotics, and plans to keep active when he can.
He has an Ironman competition on the calender for next year to add to his other two Ironman competitions, 35 marathons and countless races and triathlons.
“I just like testing myself and see how far I can go,” he said. “It is good mental toughness, and it is getting me through what I am going through now.”
Sorrentino, 61, has a crowd of people cheering him on through the Steel Valley Triathlon Club. A spaghetti dinner benefit will take place from noon to 5 p.m. March 9 at the Immaculate Heart of Mary hall on Norquest Boulevard in Austintown.
Yvonne Lipiniski of Boardman decided to have an event for her friend from the triathlon club after hearing about his squamous-cell cancer diagnosis in January. Sorrentino was given the results of the biopsy Jan. 14, just a few days after he ran a race.
“I felt just perfect,” Sorrentino said.
A lump in his neck led him to the doctor and tests for cancer.
“I figured, immediately, I would be doing less training,” Sorrentino said of his diagnosis.
So far, Sorrentino hasn’t had time or the energy to train — with both radiation and chemotherapy treatments taking up his morning and evening.
“It’s not the disease that bothers me,” he said.
What does cause him to get emotional are the crowds of people helping and cheering him on through this ordeal.
“It is just a shocker to have a fellow triathlete who is healthy and strong be faced with this,” Lipinski said. “When I tell Mark how upset I am for him, he says, ‘It is better me than you.’”
Sorrentino had to cancel running a half-marathon last weekend, but he plans to do some walking this weekend, if he is up for it, and soon he will have to train for the Ironman — a competition that includes a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride and then a full marathon of 26.2 miles.
“We are going after it,” Sorrentino said.
Tickets for the benefit are $8 for adults and $5 for children age 6 to 10. Children 5 and younger are free. An auction and 50/50 will also be a part of the benefit.