Phil Shin is a runner from South Pasadena, California. In 2018, just a few weeks after running his eighth Los Angeles Marathon, Phil was diagnosed with early-stage liver cancer. In order to remove the racquetball-sized tumor in his liver, he had to have a portion of his liver taken out. Just five months after this successful liver resection, he ran the 2018 REVEL Big Bear Marathon in Big Bear, California and qualified for the 2020 Boston Marathon. However, Phil wasn’t out of the woods yet.
Only a few weeks after running this marathon, a blood test and an MRI revealed that his liver cancer had come back. His medical team determined that the only curative option at that point was a liver transplant. Even after receiving this news, Phil remains intent on running the race he qualified for before his cancer recurrence: the 2020 Boston Marathon. He is also determined to run his tenth LA Marathon next March. Rather than wait a few years for a liver from a deceased donor, he is currently looking for a living donor in the hopes of having the transplant surgery before both races next year.
Since discovering his liver cancer had returned in November, Phil has used this lofty goal as motivation to continue running. In just six months, he has run an additional four marathons, including the London Marathon last April, and he has managed to qualify for the Boston Marathon twice more during this timeframe.
“My mantra during my struggle has been to try and outrun cancer in time to get a transplant by way of living organ donation. With the help of great organizations like the Chris Klug Foundation (CKF), my hope is to raise awareness for living donation and empower fellow cancer fighters to continue fighting through running and physical activity.”
Phil has collaborated with the Los Angeles Marathon and Conqur Endurance Group to create “35 Reasons,” a two-part documentary that tells his story and presents the concept of living organ donation to a wider audience. This is Part I of that series.
35 Reasons: The Documentary – Part I
Stay tuned for Part II of “35 Reasons” and the second part of Phil Shin’s story.