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by Vanessa Petersen   |   December 20, 2019

So Many Amazing West Coast Connections

As a chapter director, I have the privilege of being the eyes, ears, and a resource in the community for ZERO. I meet countless individuals with a personal connection to the cause and I’d say 99% of them were smacked in the face by a prostate cancer diagnosis out of nowhere; world flipped upside down. Thankfully, ZERO is there for them with open arms to provide support, events to give back to, and activities to share their stories and make an impact to save lives. As I wrap up 2019, I wanted to share several of my most memorable moments from this amazing year.

Giving Tuesday on the West Coast

I spoke with a survivor, wife, and a physician about their perspectives and experiences with prostate cancer, which really showcased many sides of how prostate cancer impacts lives. Michelle, whose husband is going to Germany to receive treatment not yet available in the states, talks about what it means to have a loved one with prostate cancer. Chas, diagnosed at 45, talks about the roller coaster of living with prostate cancer. Chas turned his experience into action by working with ZERO on Capitol Hill, as well as a reviewer of the Prostate Cancer Research Program (PCRP), a congressionally-directed medical research program that ZERO advocates for each year at our annual Summit.

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Lastly I chatted with Dr. Rhee about his perspective as a physician, and state and national advocate from the medical side.


Sacramento Champions

These local Sacramento advocates took the pain of losing a loved one to prostate cancer and turned it into action by raising funds and awareness.

 Jodie was here, there, and everywhere in the community tabling at local events, canvassing with prostate cancer information at the Capitol, and procuring over 100 items for the local run/walk raffle.

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Anna and Ryan Pessah held their annual Hops & Handlebars event in honor of Benjamin Pessah, raising over $10,000 and engaging the younger community to be aware of this disease and finding a way to give back.


Terri Linder

Terri fights for her dad, an air force veteran, who survived prostate cancer. She makes it a point to run the ZERO Run/Walk in Long Beach every year in her Dad’s honor as part of the Kilted Warriors Against Cancer (KWAC) team … and always decorates a sign for her dad. You can also find Terri running other races with her kilt and KWAC shirt around Southern California.


O’Rourke Family and the Rob O’Pen


The O’Rourke family lost their leader, and while the pain still feels like it happened yesterday, family and friends of Rob O’Rourke banned together to put on the Rob O’Pen in his memory raising nearly $10,000!


Curdy Army Honors Their “Big Cat”

As said by the daughters of Bill “Big Cat” Curdy at the annual ZERO Run/Walk Portland, “Everyday is a moment to live for and to be thankful for.” This family embodies cherishing moments despite losing their leader of the Curdy Army within a couple short years from his diagnosis of prostate cancer. Family and friends rallied around Bill as often as possible to make sure he felt loved and supported until the end. Bill’s former employer of over 30 years matched the Curdy Army Run/Walk fundraising total, and their local Police Department participated in ZERO’s Grow & Give campaign this November to show their support.