My Battle with Cancer and Leveraging it to Make a Difference for Future Generations

My Biggest Victory

I heard the 3 most dreaded words from my doctor on my 61st birthday – “you have cancer.” For someone that has motivated and inspired other people by leading a healthy & active lifestyle (“life is not a spectator sport”); the news was devastating. I was diagnosed with prostate cancer on my birthday in February 2015. I am living proof that cancer does not discriminate.

Every 19 minutes an American man dies of prostate cancer. An estimated 180,890 new cases of prostate cancer will occur in the US during 2016. Early prostate cancer usually has no symptoms. The American Cancer Society recommends that beginning at age 50, men who are at average risk of prostate cancer have a conversation with their doctor about the benefits and limitations of PSA testing. Men at high risk of developing prostate cancer (black men or those with a close relative diagnosed with prostate cancer before the age of 65) should have this discussion beginning at age 45, and men at even higher risk (those with several close relatives diagnosed at an early age) should have this discussion at age 40.

I had a Robotic Prostatectomy May 7th (National Prayer Day). The recovery was extremely rough, but I am a fighter. Having to utilize a walker to get around was humbling for someone who prided himself in being ultra-fit and strong! To get through the arduous recovery, I set goals. The motto of the Ironman is “anything is possible” and I embraced it – my mantra. My short-term goal was to travel to Seattle, 26 days post-surgery and represent the North Texas Crime Commission.   My intermediate goal was to complete a 1/2 Ironman. These 2 pictures were taken exactly 6 months after my surgery:

IMAustinSwim2015  IMAustinFinish2015.png

I achieved my short-term and Intermediate goals!

My long-term goal is to complete a full Ironman (2.4 mi swim, 112 mi bike & 26.2 mi marathon). I am going to compete at Ironman Lake Placid July 24th.

Prostate cancer really gets the short end of the stick.  Annually, there are approximately the same number of deaths from both prostate cancer and breast cancer; yet the annual amount of money spent on research is very different.  According to the American Cancer Society, over 2 times more is spent on breast cancer.  As a result, the treatment protocols for breast cancer are more refined, there is more awareness, etc.  That’s why I’m committed to raising awareness and funds to end this disease!

I’ve joined the ZERO Endurance Team because I want to put an end to the suffering of prostate cancer.

My mission is to get the world one step closer to Generation ZERO – the first generation of men free from prostate cancer.   Donations will fund research, patient financial assistance, early detection, and educational programs. 97 cents of every donated dollar goes to these initiatives (a big reason I support this charity)Join me in my efforts to support ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer. I would be most appreciative of your support by making a tax deductible contribution. I’m adding meaning to the many miles I’ll cover in my training over the next several months. You can help me raise funds for research and patient resources by making a donation on my fundraising page.  ZERO is a 501c3 charity recognized with four stars by Charity Navigator, and a Better Business Bureau member.

As I cross the finish line on the Olympic Oval, next to the “miracle” arena (Miracle on Ice), you’ll feel proud knowing you helped keep families together and save lives.

I dedicate this race to the memory of my dear friend Bill Rollings and all the men who have lost their lives to this deadly disease.

My fight is not over, but I was still cancer-free at my 9-month post-surgery check-up in February!

“IRONMAN is a statement of excellence, passion, commitment. It is a test of physical toughness and mental strength. IRONMAN is about persevering, enduring and being a part of something larger than ourselves. It shows the heights that can be achieved when we push beyond our boundaries and go the distance.”

Life is not a Spectator Sport

Tom Hulsey

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