I vividly remember the day Mike was diagnosed with prostate cancer in April of 2017. Most weekdays, Mike always got home after me, but that day, I was surprised to find him already home and starting dinner. He shared with me that he received a call from the doctor that afternoon, telling him his biopsy confirmed he had prostate cancer. I was shocked and scared.
We had been married just over two years. How could I possibly have met the most amazing person in my life to find out that he had cancer? Was he going to die? I had so many thoughts in my head. But together, we decided he would fight. We already had a family vacation planned with his children and granddaughter in celebration of his son’s college graduation, so we went on the trip and had a wonderful time. But when we got back, we scheduled the appointment with the surgeon to discuss all the options. Together we decided, based on Mike’s age and health, that it was best to remove the prostate. Six weeks later he had surgery and we were told everything went very well, and he came home to recover. When we went back to the doctor eight days later for a follow-up, we discovered that his cancer was more aggressive, and would require further treatment. Again, we were shocked and didn’t know what to do. Together we cried, but then decided again, we would fight. Several weeks later he began radiation for eight weeks, followed by hormone therapy, and oral chemo for the course of two years.
At the time of my husband’s diagnosis, I was beginning to get into running and wanted to run a race that supported a great cause. I googled races for prostate cancer online and that’s how I found ZERO. In 2018, I signed up for ZERO’s Prostate Cancer Run/Walk in Syracuse. We formed our team ‘Fight for Ferg Team’ and started fundraising. That first year we had 32 team members and raised over $8,700! Our hard work certainly paid off! We ended up being the largest team, top fundraising team, and I was the top individual fundraiser. What a great first year!
We knew we wanted to come back even bigger and better in 2019, so with the help of family, friends, and co-workers, we started early. Realizing the tremendous power of social media, we jumped on it and got the word out any way we could — telling our story to whomever would listen. We shared on Facebook and Twitter about Mike’s cancer journey and why we were working with ZERO to fight prostate cancer. Mike’s colleagues got into the action by choosing us as one of their monthly philanthropic events. We even put together a fun FUNdraising event in our community called Pancakes for Prostates, and it was a hit! Who doesn’t love pancakes?!
Let me say that I am so proud of our team and what was accomplished. They all came together for a great cause and to fight for Mike, and I can’t thank them enough for all their hard work and support. Our 2019 Fight for Ferg Team raced with 52 members and so far this year has raised over $11,000! And the best of the best news – Mike took his last dose of medication last month!
Throughout Mike’s cancer journey, our cancer journey, we’ve felt the love and support of so many wonderful people, including our many new friends at ZERO. With all of the obstacles cancer has thrown our way, from Mike battling a cancer we never thought he would have, to me learning to support him as his caregiver, we didn’t feel alone, because we knew we had ZERO to lean on.