My father was diagnosed with cancer in 2014, just shy of his final day as a middle school teacher and his long-awaited retirement. Just before a cruise he’d been waiting ten years to take with my mom. He died two weeks later, the cancer a swift and aggressive monster that took him quickly and without remorse. He was only in his early 60s; I was 25.
I knew then – not necessarily at first, but a few weeks later as I sat in my office and thought back on what we’d gone through – that I didn’t want to just sit idly by while other daughters went through the same thing. I knew there was something I could do, some way to harness this feeling and channel it into something positive. And so I sought a new career path, looking high and low for a way to make a difference for fathers and their daughters.
In the early months of 2015, I found it. ZERO was a nonprofit dedicated to fighting prostate cancer, to helping these men and their families when they needed it most. When I met the team at ZERO – Jamie and Colony and Kathy and Melissa at first, and every other amazing employee that came after – I knew I was in the right place. Their passion shone through as they talked about ZERO’s mission and programs, and I was ready to join them.
It’s been just over three and a half years since that day, and I’m sad to say that this is my final one here at ZERO. Over the past several years I’ve worn many hats, but my most important to-date has been the one where I got to meet and get to know all of our amazing Champions, advocates, volunteers, and members of the prostate cancer community. YOU are the reason behind everything we do at ZERO, and I’ve been blessed to be a part of it for as long as I have.
I’ve been the voice of ZERO on social media for almost four years. In that time I’ve seen the impact our community has had – from the start of ZERO360, to our support group ZERO Connect, to the connections made across the country and to the many Summits I attended – and it’s inspiring. It’s inspiring to know there are people out there willing to fight for the daughters like me, for the fathers like mine.
While I will no longer be posting as ZERO, i will always be cheering you all and ZERO on from the sidelines.
I can’t wait to see what you all do next.