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'No Stone Unturned': A Story of Victory, Loss, & Hope

Since the turn of the century, Casey FitzRandolph and his family have seen the best and the worst life has to offer.  The Verona, Wisconsin, native won a gold medal in speedskating in the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Just a few years later, his younger sister was diagnosed with breast cancer, and eventually lost her fight to the disease.  Though the two stories have different endings, they have some interesting similarities.  They’re both representative of an attitude of doing whatever it takes to succeed.

The FitzRandolph family’s story is told in a new book called No Stone Unturned, written by Milwaukee sports journalist Jessie Garcia.

"They have had incredible elation and incredible despair in their family.  But they are just a normal American family and they wanted to take people along on their journey," says Garcia.

Having known Casey FitzRandolph professionally on the sports field for a long time, the family wanted Garcia to tell their "whole family story" to the public about what it was like to win in the Olympics and fight the toughest battle they would all face - cancer.

"You need to be willing to share not just the good, but the bad as well because such is life. Because of our history with Jesse and her experience as a professional, we chose her when we wanted to share the story. It was a natural fit and three years later here we are looking back and I wouldn't have it any other way," says FitzRandolph.

In the book the family details the different types of cancer treatments and protocols Jessi FitzRandolph underwent - an even trickier endeavor since as Garcia was writing the book, even as Jessi maintained the fight of her life.  Even though she lost her battle to cancer, the family still believes in what they tried outside of the United States and want other families to have the chance to rethink treatment options and beat cancer.

"We were swimming upstream from day one and we knew that," says FitzRandolph. "In fact, she was given a death sentence on day one...that's not a diagnosis that anybody wants to hear. We wanted to look at alternatives, and a lot of [them] made a significant difference we think not only in the time that we had her, but also the quality of time that we had with her," says FitzRandolph.

Jessie Garcia is a longtime Milwaukee sports journalist and author of the new book No Stone Unturned: A Brother and Sister’s Incredible Journey Through the Olympics and Cancer.  Garcia and Casey FitzRandolph will talk about the book at The Pettit National Ice Center on December 5th.

Audrey Nowakowski hosts and produces Lake Effect. She joined WUWM in 2014.