Alexandria man ‘stands up to cancer’ for 24 hours straight — for what may be his final time

This weekend, Patrick Malone, a 66-year-old Alexandria man, will — for the tenth year in a row — stand up to cancer by standing for 24 hours straight. He’s doing it after he said his medical care team gave him a “second chance” on life when they helped him beat a rare form of cancer in 2014.

In late 2013 after feeling pain in his chest, Malone, an Air Force Veteran, went to Walter Reed Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, and doctors found he had a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor.

“It was a condition where it was causing pain in my upper chest. It was a tumor that was basically building up inside of my chest, underneath my [pectoral] muscles, so it was put a lot of pressure on it,” he said.

The diagnosis was made after doctors performed a 7-hour surgery to remove the tumor which was the size of a hockey puck. “It was very scary,” he said.

The surgery at Walter Reed was followed by months of grueling radiation therapy at Augusta Medical Center at Fort Belvoir, Virginia.

“They really saved my life,” he said. “So that’s why I’m kind of motivated to try to raise money for standard cancer.”

Starting in 2014, Malone began participating in “” which is put on by the Entertainment Industry Foundation to raise money for national and international cancer research.

He said over the years, he’s raised tens of thousands of dollars with the money not only going to the program, but also to the two military medical facilities that helped him in his fight.

The standing will begin at 4:26 p.m. on Saturday at Fireworks Pizza in Arlington, and he will continue standing until the same time on Super Bowl Sunday.

“It’s going to be tough,” he said.

He said he gets through the time by moving around and by talking to the many people who stop by to cheer him on. Among them he said, Arlington County Police who will stop by in the early morning hours.

He said people can donate in person at Fire Works Pizza or online, using for the Stand Up To Cancer program.

This year could also be Malone’s last, due to another rare illness he is fighting called hereditary spastic paraplegia. It is an inherited disorder which causes weakness and stiffness in the legs and makes it harder and harder for sufferers to stand and walk.

“My son Brian said, ‘Dad, you can’t keep on doing this.’ I said, ‘I’m literally standing because there’s people who are … fighting cancer, who can’t stand up, and I’m standing up for them,’” Malone said while holding back tears.

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Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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