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Despite battle with cancer, triathlete Teri Griege continues to inspire others

Alex Heuer

If there is one word to describe Teri Griege it would be ‘resilient.’ She began running marathons in her forties after conquering an alcohol addiction and worked her way up to competing in triathlons including the Ironman.

“It’s a 2.4 mile open water swim, a 112 mile bike [ride] and then the run is a marathon, 26.2 miles,” Griege explained. Her goal was to compete in the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.

However, in September 2009 at age 48, Griege was diagnosed with Stage IV colon cancer and immediately began treatment. But she didn’t lose sight of her goal and continued her training. After completing radiation and surgery and while still undergoing chemotherapy, Griege did successfully finish the Ironman in Kona. She also was chosen as NBC’s 2011 Inspirational Athlete.

Griege is still in treatment for her cancer, undergoing maintenance chemotherapy every other week. She wants to make it clear that today, cancer can be a chronic disease, and that’s how she looks at her condition.

To help others who are battling cancer, Griege created Powered by Hope, a foundation dedicated to providing hope, strength, peace and education. She came up with the idea of designing both a medal and a coin to offer cancer patients a tangible symbol of that hope and strength.

Griege has also documented her struggles and triumphs in the inspirational book "Powered By Hope: The Teri Griege Story."

After completing a half Ironman in both 2013 and 2014, Griege is now limiting herself to Olympic length triathalons and half marathons so she will have more time to devote to her foundation and other charitable activities. She is honorary chair of “Sing for Siteman,” a concert on June 15 of performances by singers featured in Opera Theatre of Saint Louis’ season to benefit Siteman Cancer Center’s Discovery Fund.

But in all she does, Griege keeps a positive attitude. “I feel like when you hear the words "you have cancer," you have entered the greatest race of your life,” she said. “I’m not grateful that I have cancer, but I am grateful for the blessings it has brought me.”

Related Event

Sing for Siteman

  • When: Monday, June 15, 7:30 p.m.
  • Where: Performing Arts Center at John Burroughs School, 755 S. Price Road, Ladue, MO 63124
  • More information

St. Louis on the Air discusses issues and concerns facing the St. Louis area. The show is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer and hosted by veteran journalist Don Marsh. Follow us on Twitter: @STLonAir.

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Mary Edwards is a producer for St. Louis Public Radio's broadcast program, "St. Louis Symphony."