Cancer never quits, so neither does Anthony Melton.
“The Ironman motto is anything is possible. It is just about never giving up. I don’t. It sucks sometimes. I don’t sleep well. I didn’t sleep well last night, but I still have to get up and go train. I am on vacation. Most people won’t train while they are on vacation, but that’s not me. Cancer doesn’t stop, so neither will I,” said Melton.
Melton, a 1993 Rowan County Senior High School graduate, continues to add up the miles. Last year when we talked to Melton, he was four years into life changing fitness journey that was not only changing his own life but the lives of those fighting cancer. Over the past year, Melton has become even more dedicated to the cause.
Melton started his fitness journey in 2014 with the goal of getting in better shape for himself and his two boys, Noah and Mason. Little did he know he was making a choice that was going to have a lasting impact on several families, from his hometown in Rowan County to his current home in Sugarland, Texas.
Melton started training for a marathon when he was introduced to a group of friends who were fundraising for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society through a program called Team in Training (TNT). Melton was instantly drawn to the idea of using his training to inspire and give hope to those fighting cancer.
He raised over $6,000 in his first year running for a cause.
Last year Melton had raised an incredible $40,950 for the Houston Aphasia Recovery Center program and totaled over $10,000 for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. He even went as far as shaving his head to raise money for his cause and has since made it a tradition to shave his head to support those with cancer.
Melton made the switch from running marathons to his first Ironman, a 2.4-mile swim in open water followed by a 112-mile bike ride and full 26.2-mile marathon that has to be completed in less than 17 hours, last November. He has since ran two full marathons and is in the midst of training for his third, Ironman Texas April 25, 2020.
Melton’s first Ironman raised another $3,000 that all went to the Leukemia Lymphoma society.
When Melton first started, he had never known someone close to him that had been affected by this terrible disease, but right after starting his training his cousin’s nephew, Colton Andel, was diagnosed with cancer. Melton’s training jumped into overdrive. He was driven by the desire to help others.
“We all know somebody, somewhere in our lifetime that has had cancer. I live my life and do these things to be a role model, not only for my kids but hopefully someday for those people, kids fighting cancer,” said Melton.
Melton started training in honor of those he knew who are battling or have passed away from cancer. Melton started writing the names of those he was honoring on his bike and his jersey. He has even reached out to both the families of Rowan County’s beloved Justin Graham and Keith Prater to carry on their legacy as far as Texas and Florida.
Melton will be cutting back this fall to run the prestigious New York City Marathon for a cause. He will be honoring Audrey Lueng this fall and aims to raise $5,500 as he endures another grueling 26.2 miles. Lueng, who was recently diagnosed with Leukemia, is a young girl from Sugarland, Texas. She lives in the same neighborhood as Melton and his family and is one year younger than Melton’s oldest boy Noah.
“You stop and think about a child who has cancer. We don’t know if she is going to make it, but it is about giving her hope. I have a child the same age, and that is where it really hits home for me,” said Melton.
“Being from Morehead, I hope that I can have the support from this community that I grew up in for spreading awareness for Leukemia and Lymphoma, for HOPE and to someday stop blood disease cancer. Please donate for life, for hope, for a child, a cancer survivor, or someone fighting cancer at this moment.”
To donate to Melton’s cause go to the link https://pages.lls.org/tnt/txg/nyc19/AMelton.
Melton says, despite wanting to focus on his running, he will still continue his work in the pool and on a bike. He is hoping to make a drastic improvement on next year’s Ironman time.
The training never stops.