‘Just Keep Moving Forward’

After cancer, Scott Lundberg became Iron Man 

Published in 2023 Washington Super Lawyers magazine

By Linda Vaccariello on July 27, 2023

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Scott Lundberg was more than two decades into a thriving personal injury practice at the Seattle firm he co-founded when he got the grim news from his doctor: He had non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

The good news? “I’ve got one of the leading cancer research centers in the world 15 minutes from my house,” he says.

Within days, Lundberg had an appointment at Seattle Cancer Care Alliance/Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, where his case was in the hands of Dr. Ajay Gopal, a medical oncologist and researcher who specializes in blood cancers such as NHL.

Lundberg faced the situation as he would any obstacle in life: head-on. “You might have a bad day, or a bad witness, or things don’t go exactly the way you wanted,” he says. “You’ve got to just keep moving forward.”

Lundberg cycles through the Col du Tourmalet in France.

Physical feats weren’t new to Lundberg. He and his wife, Charleen, were longtime runners, and in the autumn of 2010, they were training for the Dallas Marathon when he noticed the sore spot in his groin. Two courses of antibiotics did nothing; the spot had grown into a golf ball-size lump when he asked for a biopsy.

Gopal candidly explained to Lundberg the available treatment options and the odds of success with each one. “He said the aggressive [treatment] would be our best chance; also the most difficult physically and mentally,” Lundberg says. “We wanted the best outcome, so we chose that treatment.”

What followed were eight rounds of chemotherapy. Each cycle began with seven days in the hospital receiving infusions, then 14 days at home while his blood cells recovered.

“There are really two components to cancer care treatment,” he says. “One was physical and one was mental. I found the mental side to be the toughest.”

It all felt like a bad dream: the diagnosis, the taxing drug regimen, the demoralizing fatigue. And there was also the fear about the future. He was 49; at the time, his children were 7, 10 and 16. “You’re worried about them if you don’t make it through,” he says.

When his treatment ended in July of 2011, Lundberg was cancer-free. But, stripped of his former strength and stamina—and carrying an extra 35 pounds on his once-lean frame—he just didn’t feel like himself.

The slow process of physical recovery began, with his wife, Charleen, serving as his inspiration. Charleen had registered and begun training for her first triathlon. Though he’d never done competitive swimming or cycling before, he now he had a goal.

They completed a triathlon together in 2013; multiple half- and full Ironman events followed.

Lundberg’s new passion for cycling has driven him to take on what has been called the toughest amateur bike sport in the world, the Haute Route—multi-day races that grind up some of the world’s most daunting mountain roads. His first Haute Route in 2017 took him to the Dolomites in Italy, a punishing week of rain and snow on the mountain passes. “I’ve never been so wet and so cold in my life,” he recalls. But he kept moving forward. He biked Haute Route in the Pyrenees in 2018 and the Alps in 2019. “You forget how hard it was,” he says, “and you think, yeah, I’m gonna do that again!”

This year, he and Charleen are training for an Ironman competition in Lake Placid, New York. But their hobby isn’t always competitive. Recently they joined a group that biked from Valparaiso, Chile, to Buenos Aires, Argentina—1,000 miles in nine days, with spectacular Andean scenery and friendly companions from around the world. “It wasn’t a race, just an adventure,” he says. At 62, Lundberg remains cancer-free, and says, “I feel as good today as when I was 25.” He credits everyone around him for his well-being—friends, family, co-workers at GLP Attorneys, Charleen and his medical team. He also credits the important decision he made 13 years ago when he got the frank assessment of his options from Dr. Gopal. The drugs and protocol for NHL have changed, thanks to medical advances since he was diagnosed, but Lundberg’s advice hasn’t. “Everyone I talk to, I tell them to do the most aggressive treatment earliest in time.”

“There are really two components to cancer care treatment. One was physical and one was mental. I found the mental side to be the toughest.”

Scott F. Lundberg

In Training

Lundberg and Charleen cycling in Argentina in 2021.

For Lundberg and Charleen, endurance training is a lifestyle. Weekdays, he’s at the gym before work—“It’s not that hard to get up an hour earlier,” he says. Weekends find them on the road pedaling one day, hitting the pool the next, socializing with their training partners as they hammer out the miles.

Training is a priority. But, he admits, “It’s not easy.” There are days—not often—when he just doesn’t have the spark. “I call it flatlining,” he says. “But 80 percent of success is showing up. You’ve got to start.

“And once you start, good things can happen.”

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Scott F. Lundberg

Scott F. Lundberg

Top rated Personal Injury lawyer GLP Attorneys, P.S., Inc. Seattle, WA

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