When Yonkers resident Fred Lent saw Comedian Tom Green diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2000, and he decided to air a special episode of his MTV show about his surgery, in which doctors removed some of his lymph nodes and intestines to check for cancerous cells.
One the people who watched the special was Frederick Lent, who was curious because more than a year earlier, he himself had that same surgery.
“I was watching it and was like, ‘Oh, that’s what they did to me,’” he said. “It’s still crazy to me they had to take out part of me just to check to see if it was negative or not. It’s a major operation just to test something.”
Lent, a lifelong Yonkers resident, was diagnosed with testicular cancer when he was 31-years-old.
“I was pretty scared. I didn’t know anything about it,” he said. “Now that I went through it, I ended up lucky. When I first heard the word ‘cancer’ I didn’t know if it was the kind that was deadly and going to spread. The doctors told me I got it in the best place to get it because it doesn’t really spread.”
Let Patch save you time. Get great local stories like this delivered right to your inbox or smartphone everyday with our free newsletter. Simple, fast sign-up here.
The doctors also found it early, so Lent didn’t end up going through chemotherapy. He had two surgeries, and it’s been 13 years since the diagnosis.
When the doctors told him about the cancer, Lent said he had an odd reaction.
“I’ve always been athletic and I always wanted to run in organized races, and so when I got cancer, one of the first things I asked the doctors was if I would be able to run,” he said. “That was one of my major concerns. I had never run in an organized race. About four years after the cancer, when I was 35, I ran in my first race. It was in Hastings-on-Hudson.”
For the past two years, Lent has run about 15 races each year, mostly for various charitable efforts. He said he runs up to a half marathon, but hasn’t tried a full one yet. He’s run seven races so far this year and the eighth is one of his favorite annual races.
On Sunday Aug. 12, Lent will take part in the annual Damon Runyon 5K for cancer research. The reason Lent enjoys this race so much is because it takes place inside Yankee Stadium.
“Overall, to run in Yankee Stadium is incredible,” he said. “First of all, not too many people get to step on that field. Unless you’re a player, or a groundskeeper or a member of the media, you’re not stepping on that field.”
This will be fourth annual race, and Lent’s third, as he didn’t find out about it until the second year. Since its inception, the race has raised more than $1.4 million to support cancer research. The event is expected to raise about $600,000 this year. Former Yankees Mick “the Quick” Rivers and Ron Bloomberg will act as the official starters for this year’s race.
All participants fundraise for the event. Lent's page for donations can be found here.
Participants run all over Yankee Stadium, taking stairs and ramps on the path that includes the concourse, the area near the bullpen and Monument Park, the warning track and the Great Hall. His first year in the event, Lent ended up with an unexpected take home.
“When I ran there the first year, I noticed I had the red clay from the warning track stuck in my sneakers when I got home,” he said. “I actually picked it out and kept it.”
For Lent, a lifelong Yankees fan, running in Yankees Stadium each year is one of his most anticipated races.
“It’s a one-of-a-kind event. You’re running around every level of the Stadium,” he said. “I run in a lot of races, but none of them are like that.”