In 2004 my husband, Dr. Johnny Reyna, was a urologist with a successful practice in San Antonio. When he was diagnosed and treated for kidney cancer that year, we knew that we wanted to help others in our community who might be battling cancer. We didn’t know it quite yet at that time, but that would be the start of our journey to starting Los Padres Prostate Cancer Foundation.
You hear the word ‘cancer’ and you go black for a little while. And then your brain does kick in, you realize that this is a new chapter in your life. With cancer prevalent on both sides of our family – this journey is very personal.
I was terrified when I heard Johnny had cancer. I immediately thought of the worst-case scenario, as you usually do. But I realized then that if we were going to get through this it was going to be together.
After Johnny’s cancer and – with Johnny being a urologist himself – it seemed like a natural fit that the next phase would be to honor our fathers and to fight prostate cancer. This became “Los Padres Prostate Cancer Foundation,” a local nonprofit based in San Antonio meant to help local men. “Los Padres” is Spanish for “The Fathers” – the perfect name to convey our mission.
And so, in 2012, in honor and memory of ours, as well as everyone’s fathers, brothers, uncles, sons, Los Padres was born.
“I’ve learned a lot through my battle with cancer. I’ve learned that cancer doesn’t discriminate. Early detection is the key to beating cancer – this is our mission, and it’s one we decided on together. We decided to take on this animal that is prostate cancer and do what we could to help fight it. Being cancer-free is something that I share with others, something like a club. It’s like we beat this nasty disease and now we need to find and help others to make them a part of this club.” – Johnny Reyna
Like all cancer battles, it takes a family to fight it, and we are truly blessed to have that support of our families – we truly all are committed to this cause!
The year after we launched Los Padres, we took on another challenge – organizing a ZERO Run/Walk in San Antonio. In partnership with ZERO, we brought the run/walk series to the patients, survivors, and families in our town. We wanted to show them that they were not alone and to raise funds and awareness for Los Padres to bring awareness and education programs and free testing to our community.
In the six years since, our race has grown to more than 950 participants and raised over $70,000 each year to end prostate cancer. If you’re in San Antonio, we hope you’ll join us for this year’s event on September 16th at Mission County Park Pavillion in San Antonio. It’s even an official part of the San Antonio Tricentennial Celebration!