“Believe You Can!” Says Cancer Survivor & Brat Trot Finisher Paul Hildebrandt
by Mark Neuman
One year ago this month, local resident Paul Hildebrandt was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of a very unfriendly disease: T-cell lymphoma.
On Sunday (Sept. 19th), Paul completed the Burien Brat Trot “in good time” (actually in 68th place at 27:24.3).
A pilot for Alaska Airlines, Paul “set the parking brake” on a jet at Sea Tac Airport on September 16, 2009.
“Later that day I was diagnosed. I haven’t flown since,” due to FAA medical regulations.
In October, Paul began chemotherapy, followed by full body radiation.
“Then I was hospitalized for (another) chemotherapy treatment that kills your bone marrow,” Paul told The B-Town Blog minutes after his Brat Trot finish.
Paul received a stem cell transplant in February.
Paul Hildebrandt, 51, who grew up in Des Moines and graduated from Kennedy High School in Burien, just received medical clearance from the FAA. He will train for flight clearance soon and fully expects to be in the air flying once again for Alaska Airlines in time for the holidays.
“I feel better than I’ve ever felt in my life,” he told us before sitting down with friends for a post-race meal.
Paul, who victoriously waved his yellow Live Strong bracelet crossing the finish line today has a message for anyone facing medical difficulties: “Believe you can!”