BOSTON MARATHON: St. Louis Park cancer patient to finish - KMSP-TV

BOSTON MARATHON: St. Louis Park cancer patient to finish last mile

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With the Boston Marathon less than two weeks away, Kelcey Carlson sat down with a St. Louis Park woman who is battling cancer and still plans to head back to finish the final stretch she couldn't last year.

Elinor Scott was out on the course in the last mile of the race when the bombs went off. Now, marathon officials have given her special permission to run or walk the last three quarters of a mile to the finish because she is in the fight of her life.

A finish line isn't really an end; it's a mark of success -- one Scott wants to earn.

"I was there, about to run my first Boston Marathon," she recalled. "I was very excited, like every other runner."

Yet, the 51-year-old mother of four was stopped in the 25th mile last year when the bombs went off. This year, she'll run the last 3/4 mile because she needs too. In January, she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Of all the cancers, it's one of the hardest to fight.

"I was really running right up to the end until I got too sick," Scott said.

There are many layers to her fight. While she is shaking her fist at the disease, her teenage daughter, Martha, is facing the terrorism. She was just yards from one of the blast.

"She had been right there where the blast was, but she wanted to see me better and she asked some people to move over 20 yards," Scott explained.

Now, they plan to go back to Boston together.

"If they allow it, I'll have her walk it with me, and if they don't, I'll have her waiting there for me," Scott insisted. "Either way, it's important to both of us."

That journey on April 21 is just one more mile in Scott's race. She's also walking down a path toward a potential cure.

"Elinor is an amazing person," Dr. Ashok Saluja said.

Saluja is part of a team at the University of Minnesota that is working on a pancreatic cancer drug called Minnelide.

"I'm very confident that Minnelide will kill tumor cells and will block tumor cells," he said.

Pancreatic cancer cells are unique because they develop a sort of bullet-proof vest around them, but Saluja says Minnelide can penetrate it. A small human trial started last fall, and Dr. Ed Greeno says they are working to determine what side effects there will be before they move forward.

"Certainly, this is an exciting time," he said. "I have a feeling, in the next few months to a year, we will know if this is an effective drug or not."

If her chemotherapy stops working, Scott may qualify for Minnelide research.

"It really will take a village to find a cure for pancreatic cancer," Saluja said.

That potential gives her hope, and given that it's close to home, it may even be meant to be.

"I look at my kids and I've got to try hard," she said. "They need a mom and they deserve it."

Scott faces cancer like a marathoner and told Fox 9 News she wants to finish it.

"I'm a very determined person," she said with a smile.

The Minnelide Trials are still in the very beginning stages, and the Masonic Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota has strict FDA rules it must follow; however, if the drug's benefits outweigh the risks, human trials will expand. If it shows tremendous progress, it could be fast-tracked.

For more information, call 612-624-2620 or use the toll-free five-state phone line at 1-888-226-2376.

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