After kicking cancer, this former Marine celebrated by racing over 10,000 miles across Europe and Asia
The INSIDER Summary:
• Adam Casey was
in the Marine Corps when he found out he had stage IV cancer.
• He celebrated entering remission by racing in the Mongol Rally and Derby.
It's difficult to tell where Adam Casey 's story begins.
Perhaps it's when he met a girl who changed his life and inspired him to start a nonprofit called I Do It For Her , helping at-risk youth in St. Louis receive a better education.
Or when he enlisted in the military and became a First Lieutenant Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps.
Perhaps it's when he was diagnosed with stage IV cancer.
Maybe it's when he entered remission, and celebrated by racing 10,000 miles in the Mongol Rally and got halfway through the Mongol Derby before the wild horse he was riding bucked him off and broke his ribs.
Perhaps Casey's story hasn't even begun yet. But it certainly isn't over.
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When Casey was a 20-year-old football player and student at the University of Missouri, he met a girl who inspired him to push himself and reach his full potential.
He enlisted in the military after graduation as part of this effort, reaching the rank of First Lieutenant Infantry Officer in the Marine Corps.
While serving in the Marines, he received a devastating diagnosis: stage IV advanced lymphoma.
After six months of chemo, organ failures, and close calls, he entered remission and started looking for appropriate ways to celebrate.
The Mongol Rally, a 10,000 mile ride across Europe and Asia, and the Mongol Derby, a race on semi-wild horses through the Mongolian wilderness, both fit the bill.
The Mongol Rally begins at various points around Western Europe and ends in Mongolia, but where teams go in between is up to them.
Casey drove with his dad in small car that they purchased for less than $1,000.
They hit a snag at the border of Russia and Estonia where they were denied entry, so Casey had to leave the car and fly into Mongolia to begin the Derby.
"We didn't ditch the car, but I got the best Airbnb review possible because we gave it to our hosts in Prague," he said.
In the Mongol Derby, riders gallop 621 miles (1,000 km) through the Mongolian-Manchurian steppe.
The semi-wild horses are "tame enough that you can put a saddle on them, but wild enough to not want people on that saddle."
"As soon as I hopped on, that thing would just take off," he said. "For 10 miles, this thing did not stop — full gallop. It was unbelievable."
When Casey's horse threw him off and broke a few of his ribs, he continued riding for three more days until it bucked him off again and ran away with his saddle.
"I got a little over halfway," he said. "It's still a bitter taste in my mouth."
Casey now lives in Boulder, Colorado, where he's back in school studying computer science.
He hopes to qualify for the Boston Marathon next year, and has his eye on the notoriously difficult Jungle Marathon through the Amazon rainforest.
Out of all of Casey's accomplishments and adventures, his work with the nonprofit he founded called I Do It For Her still ranks above all else.
He hopes to motivate others to take risks to become their best selves, just as the organization's namesake did for him.
"Take the risk in whatever you want to do in life, because ultimately it will make you better, whether you succeed or fail," he said.
"I've got plenty of failures. But those few and far-between successes — man, they feel really good."
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