New documentary tells the story of a Chattanooga man's battle against brain cancer
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. —
Glioblastoma is an extremely aggressive form of brain cancer.
You may remember it's the same type of brain cancer Senator Ted Kennedy battled before his death. Senator John McCain was diagnosed with it earlier this year.
In 2015 Nathan Sexton was working at Bellhops. It's a moving service start-up based in Chattanooga. One day Nathan had a seizure at work.
"I stood up to take my team out to lunch," Nathan said. "I just remember spinning like a few times and then just blacked out."
Nathan's wife Elizabeth was at work when she got the call. She went straight to Nathan's office. She says she, "saw Nathan being wheeled out on a stretcher having his third seizure."
Just a couple hours later he was diagnosed with Glioblastoma.
"It was very difficult for people because he wasn't just, you know, a fellow team member. He was a big leader. Had a huge team. Everybody looked up to him, and he was kinda known for his super-human strength. long work hours and all this stuff," Bellhops Co-founder Stephen Vlahos said.
Over the last two and a half years people in Chattanooga have seen some of Nathan's super human side.
He was diagnosed in June 2015. The following November he "walked into work for the first time and said hey to everybody," Nathan said. "I was like what's this on the white board? They were like 'we're tracking our miles. We're all gonna run the half marathon here in Chattanooga' and I was like you know what put me on that list."
He ran that race, and he kept running. He ran the Chattanooga Marathon in March of last year. He had two seizures in that race, and came up two minutes short of a qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. However, thanks to some help from friends he was able to run Boston in April.
"It think it was like my third seizure was when somebody came and pulled me to the side," Nathan said about his race in Boston. "They could tell I wasn't right. So they pulled me and sat me down in a medical tent, and she turned around and I snuck off because I wanted to finish the Boston Marathon."
He finished that race and had five seizures before he reached the finish line.
Because of stories like that Nathan Sexton has been an inspiration for people who are close to him, and people who don't know him at all. Now a film maker in Chattanooga wants more people to know Nathan's story.
Greg Corridino has spent the last few years doing marketing videos for companies like Bellhops and others. He just finished a documentary called, Keep Fighting: The Journey of Nathan Sexton.
"Clearly Nathan has inspired a lot of people in Chattanooga," Greg said. "So hopefully with this documentary it gets an even further reach than that."
Greg says he's learned some important lessons from telling Nathan's story.
"I think we as humans get in this trap," Corradino said. "You want to wait for everything to be perfect before you're happy or before you do the things you want to do with your life. I think Nathan's story kinda shows that you don't have to. Nothing is ever going to be perfect so make the most of whatever situation you're in, and I think he's really done that."
Nathan had another surgery in June and on Monday he received results from a scan that showed no sign of a tumor. The Sextons say they know there are still cancer cells present.
If you want to see the movie it will be shown on Sunday at the Walker Auditorium. That is on the second floor of the Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Auditorium.