ESPN documentary featuring Iram Leon to air on KVUE this Saturday

Iram Leon and his daughter, Kiana, pose in front of the "I Love You" mural on South Congress Avenue. Family photo.
Iram Leon and his daughter, Kiana, pose in front of the “I Love You” mural on South Congress Avenue. Family photo.

If you missed the episode of “E:60” featuring Austin runner and brain cancer survivor Iram Leon that aired on ESPN last week, set the recorder for Saturday.

Brain cancer survivor Iram Leon, left, and his daughter, Kiana. Ashley Landis for American-Statesman
Brain cancer survivor Iram Leon, left, and his daughter, Kiana.
Ashley Landis for American-Statesman

The program will air at 4 p.m. Saturday on KVUE. It will also be online at ESPN on Aug. 25.

Leon was diagnosed with brain cancer in November 2010, after collapsing at a birthday party. A marble-sized tumor is entwined in the memory and language hub of his brain and has invisible “tentacles” that even doctors can’t detect. The average survival time for the disease is four years; only a third of patients live five years after diagnosis.

Doctors have told Leon, 35, that they’re just hoping he sees his 40th birthday. His most recent MRI, in June, showed that his tumors are still stable.

Today Leon is a single father and primary caregiver to his daughter Kiana, now 8.

He’s also an amazing runner. He won the Gusher Marathon in Beaumont in March 2013 — outright — while pushing his daughter in a stroller. Since then he’s won or placed at the top of other 5K, 10K and half marathons.

“There’s two questions I ask: Can I keep running, and am I still fit to raise a kid. Because one’s how I get through a day, the other is why,” he says on the documentary.

Iram and Kiana Leon by Josh Baker of AzulOx Visuals
Iram and Kiana Leon by Josh Baker of AzulOx Visuals

You can catch Leon in person on Sept. 13, when he’ll race the fifth annual Brain Power 5K at the Cedar Park Center. As part of a fundraiser dubbed “Let Iram Run By ‘Em” that will benefit brain cancer research and brain cancer patients, he’ll start in last place at the run. Donors will contribute money based on how many runners he passes.

Expect him to pass plenty.

For more information about the race or to register, go here.

Author: Pam LeBlanc

Pam LeBlanc writes about fitness and travel for the Austin American-Statesman. She has worked for the Statesman since 1998 and written her weekly fitness column, Fit City, since 2004.

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