Man battling cancer to swim length of Willamette River

KEIZER, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A Gresham man battling two forms of cancer is planning to swim the entire length of the Willamette River, as a way to show others that a cancer diagnosis doesn’t mean they have to give up their dream and their drive.

Dean Hall, 54, was first diagnosed with leukemia and then lymphoma, but said he refuses to let the diagnoses keep him down.

Hall began his journey south of Eugene two weeks ago and is aiming to swim all the way to the Columbia River.

His dad, who is also battling lymphoma, is right by his side in a kayak.

Hall had made it to the Wheatland Ferry near Keizer on Monday. He told KOIN 6 the quest was inspired after his diagnosis and after losing his wife.

“So many of the other cancer patients that I meet, especially men, when they find out they’ve got a diagnosis, they just sit down and don’t’ do anything. They give up their dreams and their drive. I’m just an ordinary guy. I’ve never won a swim race in my life. I’ve never been part of a swim team. In theory, if a guy with two forms of cancer who’s just an ordinary Joe, never been an Olympic athlete, can swim 184 miles, it will remind all my friends out there who are also suffering from cancer they don’t have to give up their dreams and their drive,” said Hall.

Hall, who works as a marriage therapist, is swimming about nine miles a day. He said his next goal of the swim is to reach downtown Portland Saturday and meet the Mayor.

Hall said he hopes to have people swim and paddle with him.

To learn more and get updates about Hall’s quest, visit the Facebook page Swimming in Miracles, where Hall is documenting his journey.

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