PROVIDENCE – In late August, Dr. James E. Fanale was trudging through the Falmouth Road Race — walking up the hills, running down them — for seven miles. Fellow runners encouraged him to “keep trying” whenever he slowed down. But they couldn’t have known — along with most of the people in Fanale’s professional orbit — that he was battling Stage 4 lung cancer.
“Many times, I wanted to say ‘Listen buddy, you don’t know what I’ve got in me,’” Fanale recalled recently with a chuckle.
In December 2022, on the day Fanale retired as president and CEO of Care New England, he shared his diagnosis with a Globe reporter but requested it be kept private. He was handing the reins to new CEO Dr. Michael Wagner after six years leading the second largest health care system in Rhode Island.