Queen’s Connection Profile:

ER Doc Competes for a Cause

“It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since I lost my mom, Janet Warrington, to cancer,” writes Wayne Warrington, DO, an Emergency Department physician at Queen’s – West O‘ahu, where he’s worked since its opening in 2014. Before that, he worked in the St. Francis West ER, then the Hawaii Medical Center ER until it closed. The dreaded diagnosis of his mother’s lymphoma came just as he was applying for medical school. It inspired Dr. Warrington to accomplish amazing feats to fight the disease.

It all started in Dr. Warrington’s third year of med school, when his chief resident landed in the ER after overdoing it while training for the 2001 Los Angeles Triathlon. When he found out why she was doing it, he was inspired. More of a gym guy, he hated running, but was up for a challenge. But best of all, the chief resident was doing it raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). To join in raising money at the triathlon, Dr. Warrington joined the LLS’s Team In Training, which helps athletes prepare for endurance challenges with experienced coaches and other training aids. His mother was skeptical when he set his fundraising goal at a lofty $3,600, and shocked when he raised $25,000.

Dr. Warrington has raised about $150,000 for the LLS at numerous events since that 2001 event, including marathons, triathlons, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and a total of eight IRONMAN competitions, among other events. He’s training to do it again with other LLS team members at the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona this October.

IRONMAN is a big commitment. “Training can take up to 25 hours a week,” says Dr. Warrington about the intense weeks leading up to IRONMAN. “It’s like having a part-time job.” IRONMAN is a triathlon consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike ride, and a 26.2 mile run. Although he has eight of these under his belt, the Kona IRONMAN is the World Championship, where he will be competing with 2,500 of the fittest people on earth on what is considered one of the toughest courses. “It’s like being chosen to participate in the Olympics,” he notes, “and for this honor, I have been tasked with raising $100,000 for the LLS.” He’s already raise $19,000.

It’s a very lofty goal, but the money will go a long way to fight cancer. Last year, the FDA approved 18 new chemotherapy drugs originally funded by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which helps the most promising cancer research get off the ground. The impact goes beyond blood cancers. Approximately 40 percent of new cancer therapies approved by the FDA since 2000 for blood cancers have led to breakthrough treatments for other cancers and serious diseases. The LLS also helps patients who need help to afford treatment.

“For 10 years she fought the most valiant fight, in and out of remission, losing her hair, growing it back, only to lose it again,” said Dr. Warrington. “Thanks to her strong will, advances in cancer treatment supported in part by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, an excellent oncologist, and her faith in God, she lived twice as long as her initial prognosis.” Dr. Warrington worried that his mother wouldn’t see him graduate from medical school, but she did, along with his ER residency as well. “She was so very proud of me and never let me forget that.” Visit Dr. Warrington’s personal website at www.konaforacure.com to read more about his story.