Paul Schaye, 17-year PMC cyclist and a cancer “Thriver”

Bill Alfano's picture
Bill Alfano

Paul Schaye, 17-year PMC cyclist and a cancer “Thriver”

Paul Schaye, 61, Founder and Managing Partner of Chestnut Hill Partners, LLC, a boutique New York based private equity M&A firm, channels the same focused management style he has used to run his successful business and compete in marathons, triathlons, and endurance cycling events (Paris-Brest-Pars – 750 miles in 90 hours) to manage his treatment for a rare stomach cancer and raise money for research to cure the disease.   

And he’s not doing it alone. Like any successful entrepreneur, Paul has built a team, dubbed Paul’s Posse, which is made up of more than a dozen influencers, cancer researchers, and entrepreneurs to help him achieve his goal.  “I am a guy’s guy,” he says. "But, when I think about these guys, our friendship, and how they rallied behind me and with me as I have struggled through my cancer and recovery, I cannot help but get emotional.  The outpouring of love and support is overwhelming.  The Posse is like having a push up every hill both on and off the road” 

In October 2006, a few weeks before he was to run the New York Marathon, Paul was putting a package in the trunk of a taxi when he thought he strained his back. After a few days of back pain, he set up an appointment with a doctor / friend, who scheduled him for an MRI. Within days, Paul got the call. “The call that no one ever wants to get, the call that changes everything, the call that literally redefines your life,” he specified.   

The call led to an appointment, which led to a test and then a scan, which led to more calls, appointments, tests and scans, and when the dust settled, around 72 hours after the original call, he got the verdict. A tumor, larger than a baseball, was growing in his stomach. It was a gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST), stage IV stomach cancer that had spread to his liver. This was all hard to believe, as he hadn’t experienced one symptom. Most people with this type of cancer don’t live longer than two years after diagnosis.  Paul’s been at it for nearly seven.  

His first reaction to the news: “Cancer is something other people get. I ride bikes and do triathlons. I raise money for cancer research. I shouldn’t have cancer, but I do.”  

Paul started riding in the PMC in 1997 for the fun of it, the athletic challenge, and to raise money for the Jimmy Fund because he grew up in Boston. Now, however, raising money for cancer research is not just a good idea or a nice thing to do, it is the main passion in Paul’s life.  In 17 years, Paul has personally raised $350,000 and since 2007, Paul’s Posse has raised nearly $2 million for the Jimmy Fund through the PMC.  

In November 2007, Paul withstood a six-hour surgery to remove much of his liver in hopes of reducing the amount of cancer in his body, thus increasing the ability of the tumor-starving drug, Gleevec, to do its job. Gleevec was first used to treat GIST patients by Dana-Farber oncologist and leading GIST specialist, Dr. George Demetri, who rides in the PMC as a member of Paul’s Posse.  

Today, his body remains disease-free, thanks to the drug. Still working after six years, Gleevec is saving Paul’s life  

Paul Schaye is a “cancer Thriver” not a cancer survivor, which he says sounds like someone washed up on the beach. Today, being able to ride in the PMC remains extremely important to Paul. “Riding in the PMC is part of me thriving,” he said.  

Registration for the 35th Pan-Mass Challenge is open.

PMC veteran Paul Schaye leads Team Paul’s Posse in the Pan-Mass Challenge 

Post courtesy of Jackie at Teak Media + Communication