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San Antonio Proud: Local Cyclist Inspires With Positivity During Leukemia Battle

Publication: KABB-TV, Fox San Antonio

At 76 years young, Bill Mercado is always on the move.

"I had to do something because I have so much energy," he said. "So I took up cycling."

He doesn't just ride for recreation, but to compete.

"I get dirty looks because when we go up hills. I normally say 'Get out of the way! 75-year-old man coming through!'," Mercado said.

This week he'll put his body to the test in the Hotter Than Hell 100. A 100-mile bike race in the 100 degree Texas heat.

"I sweat and I'm tired. But I could do it," he said. "I want to keep going, I don't want to stop."

Quitting has never been in option for bill. Especially, when he was diagnosed with Leukemia two and half years ago.

"I felt bad, but then that night I said 'Well, so what? Let's march on. Life is still around,'" Mercado said. "I didn't want it to affect my life as much as it could have."

It's his will to live that's allowed him to thrive despite his diagnosis.

"Every time he comes in, there's always that positive focus, he wants to fight it," his doctor, Dr. Suneetha Challagundla, said. "He's very committed to in what he does, and that actually motivates us."

Dr. Challagundla says Mercado has shown great improvement since he first started to visit Texas Oncology. Thanks to bike riding and this positive attitude.

"I take advantage of it because I mean, it could kill me one day," Mercado said. "If it happens, I want to be able to say I did my best."

For Bill Mercado, there is no reason to stop when there is more time to live. Living for those he loves, to ride and to inspire others.

"I go to the chemo ward, and I see a lot of sick, sick people," he said. "I'm not there. I'm full of life."

"I'm really proud of him. I truly think that he's an inspiration to everyone," Dr. Challagundla said.

"I'm just lucky, and I'm going to use that luck to keep on going," Mercado said.

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