CHESAPEAKE -- As a Navy SEAL Justin Legg knew all about strength and endurance. Now a former SEAL, he still knows about them.
'I just don't believe in ever giving up for any reason.Yeah, you have to know when to pick and choose your battles, but you never give up in the war, and, for me, the war is making yourself better in some way every day,' Legg told 13News.
In 2006, after returning from a deployment to Iraq, Legg noticed he wasn't running as fast as he should be. His bones started hurting. Legg would find out that he had Leukemia and that he would need a bone marrow transplant. He underwent 50 rounds of chemotherapy while waiting for a donor match to be found, eventually, getting the bone marrow transplant.
Legg wound up developing Graft Versus Host Disease. Basically, the donor's immune cells attacked Legg's normal cells. That meant he would take medication that would help him. At the same time, the medication would create life-threatening trouble.
'It attacked my eyes, my skin, my liver,' said Legg. 'As it attacked different parts of my body, sooner or later, it just ate up my lungs to where they didn't work at all anymore. I was down to about 13 percent lung function.'
Legg who had a double lung transplant in 2010 is working to get back to where he was, physically, before disease and treatments began tearing away at his muscles and overall health.
This weekend, he'll be part of the Rock 'n' Roll Half Marathon in Virginia Beach. It's the second race of that distance (13.1 miles) the past marathoner has done since his lung transplant. He'll attempt to run as much of it as he can, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through Team in Training.
Legg already has about $20,000 raised. He is trying to reach $50,000. If he hits that amount, he will be able to have a research study in honor of Jarred McKinley Carter whose lungs Legg received.
'I'm trying to show everybody else what can be done, that 'impossible' is, 'impossible' is a false word to me,' Legg said. 'It just doesn't exist.'