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Veteran fighting cancer reaches goal of 176,200 pushups

Nathan Tirey, in a screen capture from a video on his YouTube channel, Pushing Through Cancer.

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By SARAH FRANKS | Dayton Daily News, Ohio | Published: October 16, 2020

DAYTON, Ohio (Tribune News Service) — When Army veteran Nathan Tirey received a blood cancer diagnosis last year, he became one of about 176,200 people who receive the life-changing news annually.

Tirey's shock quickly turned to determination as he set out on his goal of completing one pushup to honor each person diagnosed with blood cancer in 2020 — an average of 484 pushups each day, all while going through cancer treatment.

On Oct. 3 this year, Tirey successfully reached his goal of 176,200 pushups, documenting his mission along the way on his YouTube channel, Pushing Through Cancer.

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"The goal is to bring awareness to blood cancer, and the number of pushups really drives home just how many people are affected," Tirey said. "I have cancer, but I'm not going to let that change who I am. I'm going to put one foot in front of the other and fight it every day, and the pushups are symbolic of that."

Tirey not only accomplished his goal of raising awareness, but inspired many along the way, including his doctors at The Ohio State University James Cancer Treatment and Research Center.

"To be able to see somebody who is undergoing treatment who is feeling so well that they can do over 500 pushups a day I think can be really inspiring," said James hematologist Dr. Jennifer Woyach.

Tirey knows how critical a person's mental state can be when receiving and facing a diagnosis.

"You need to get out of that 'woe-is-me' headspace and into that 'I'm going to do something about it' headspace," Tirey said. "This has given me a mission, something to do. ... It keeps my mind on living."

People are able to watch Tirey's journey on his Pushing Through Cancer YouTube channel.

"This isn't something where I'm splicing together a bunch of clips. It is one continuous video because I want it to be authentic and show the real struggle of cancer treatment," Tirey said. "Hopefully others can use this to fuel their own fire because I truly believe exercise will always make you feel better, even on days when it's hard."

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