Last week I spent time in Minneapolis and Chicago meeting prostate cancer champions, attending a cancer conference, and kicking off a new season of the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk series. That’s when the text came in: “I was driving yesterday and saw a dad with his daughter and it made me think of you and I when we used to run together. I miss you. Safe travels.” From a thousand miles away, she still makes my day.
My daughter is 17 now and it won’t be long before she’s off to college. I was no doubt missing her. When her message came in I was on my way to see Rose Mills at our Run/Walk in Joliet, IL., who is missing her dad too. Luis de la Vega died of prostate cancer in February after a four year battle; he was an up-by-his-bootstraps steelworker for 47 years who put his seven children through college. Rose and her family fight on in his name to end this terrible disease, using his nickname “Strong Like Bull” to honor his memory.
As we countdown to Father’s Day, it stings a whole lot more for Rose and the countless daughters who are missing their dads. From the t-shirts and the tears, to the smiles and the hugs, I’m always astonished at the outpouring of unending love daughters have for their dads at the ZERO Run/Walks. With passion and purpose, these daughters are playing an important role in the fight against prostate cancer.
As a dad, I want to say thank you for all that you are and all that you do. I look at all of the daughters, with the spark of joy in their eyes as they celebrate a life well-lived, and I see my daughter. I hope I make her as proud as I know your dads are of you.
I need you all beside me this Father’s Day. During this month, let’s all come together and #DoItforDad by sharing your favorite stories and pictures of your dad. Strong Like Bull, we’re going to beat prostate cancer.