ON THE HUDSON FOR RARE CANCER AWARENESS

DENNIS YUSKO STAFF WRITER
Section: Capital Region,  Page: D4

Date: Thursday, September 29, 2011

A father paddled the Hudson River from Schuylerville to Mechanicville Saturday to raise awareness of a rare and deadly illness that has stricken his daughter.


Linda Wells, 25, of Mechanicville, has peritoneal mesothelioma, a form of cancer that occurs in the thin lining that surrounds the abdominal cavity. A doctor who diagnosed her nine years ago gave her 12 months to live, her dad, Mark Wells said.


Mark Wells, 56, kayaked about 16 miles through locks 4 and 3 so people would know about peritoneal mesothelioma, which is believed to be caused by exposure to asbestos and is found in less than 500 Americans a year.


On Saturday morning, Mark Wells met a new friend, Patti Turi of Stoney Creek, who was diagnosed with the cancer two years ago and came with her friend because she wanted to support the Mechanicville family. The three ignored the threat of rain and sailed off at 9 a.m.


"It went great," Mark Wells said. "Just mist, no rain. The water was like glass."


The family is planning Linda's sixth surgery. She's fighting a brave battle, her dad said.


"She's pretty tough," Wells said. But Linda's not doing very well right now, he said.


"She's in constant pain. We hope to take out the tumors to relieve pain, but there is no guarantee," Wells said.


Linda's condition prevents her from working. She lives in Mechanicville above her mom in an apartment. She has two bothers, Mark, 29, and Michael, 27.


Wells intends to make his river trip an annual voyage. He wants next year's version to be bigger and better. He said it makes him feel less helpless.


Contact Mark Wells with questions or messages of support at markwells@inbox.com.