When the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004 – breaking an 86-year championship draught – the Boston Globe covered many heart-filled stories of lifelong fans. They shared stories of how these fans drove hours to visit the graves of fathers and grandfathers who went their whole lives without seeing the team win the big one.
Increasing research funding at the Prostate Cancer Research Program to $100M is like that. The achievement is the pinnacle in ZERO’s mission, almost like winning the World Series. Serving the organization for the last 16 years, I’ve been fortunate to work alongside many of the men who founded this organization and who have fought so hard to increase prostate cancer research funding.
Men like Ralph Burnett, who served our nation as a Vietnam veteran and Federal Court Judge, as well as Chairman of this organization in the early years. I talked to him almost daily in the last few months of his life, before he succumbed to advanced prostate cancer. Back then there weren’t as many treatment options as there are available now, not as much hope for men diagnosed in a late stage.
He tried talking me into going to law school. Ralph became convinced I should become a judge, but I thought he was crazy and told him I’d be at ZERO for the long haul. He made me promise to build up our outreach, to never stop fighting for the funding that prostate cancer patients deserve, and to secure $100M for the Prostate Cancer Research Program. Ralph was a tough old bird but he loved this organization as much as anyone, and he’d be beaming with pride over your accomplishment last week.
The Prostate Cancer Research Program is the most successful initiative aimed at ending prostate cancer and has generated three new treatments for prostate cancer as well as a new tool to determine aggressive from indolent disease. The increase of $10M last week will give a whole new universe of hope for the far too many men and families we personally know today who are hanging on for the help this increase will generate.