I am not a particularly political person nor have I ever had a cause that is “near and dear” to my heart. Nothing in my life has ever grabbed hold of me and shaken me into action until January 3, 2018. That was the day my dad, my “Old Man River”, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. I felt the floor fall out from beneath me and couldn’t catch my breath because clearly, someone had sucker punched me. I was absolutely lost and had no idea where to turn for help with how to support my dad in whatever he was going to face. That week is a pretty big blur, except for ZERO. ZERO became my anchor. So I decided to get involved.
When I decided to run the ZERO Napa Valley Walk/Run last September, I just wanted to do something that I felt was all mine. I set a goal to raise a few hundred dollars and my tribe blasted through that goal. That was the moment I knew that prostate cancer awareness and support was my calling. This is where I am supposed to focus my time and my energy. This is my fight, in honor of my dad.
When the opportunity to attend ZERO Prostate Cancer Summit came up, I almost couldn’t believe that it was a thing. Though I knew that the research and programs ZERO provides cost money, I had no idea how much or where exactly it all comes from. I mean, these races are incredible all over the country, but they can’t cover all the costs of what ZERO is doing, right? That’s right. And so in two weeks, I’m headed to Washington DC on behalf of my dad and every other man who has waged this war at some point in hopes that one day, the war will end and there will be no more prostate cancer, in part because of the work that ZERO is doing. I will learn about programs and treatments and cutting edge options for men that have never existed before and I will bravely be part of asking my representatives to support the funding so desperately needed to fight prostate cancer.
I’m not into politics, but guess what? Prostate cancer doesn’t have a political party. I’m not a lobbyist, but guess what? Prostate cancer doesn’t have a platform and it doesn’t discriminate. I’m just a girl. I’m a girl who is crazy about someone who has heard the words, “You have prostate cancer” and who longs for the day that nobody ever hears those words again.
I can’t wait to be part of the ZERO Prostate Cancer Summit and learn how to bring back everything I learn to help grow awareness and support in my community. And I can’t wait for the day that no family ever has to feel that sucker punch.