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by Jamie Bearse   |   April 8, 2022

Reflecting on 20 Years with My ZERO Ohana

Jamie Bearse with blue beard

I’m sitting by the beach in Lahaina reflecting. There’s always been a big piece of my heart here in Hawaii since I got married here and started a family. I’m reflective because last month marked 20 years with my ZERO Ohana—Hawaiian for “family”—where I’ve been fighting for this cause since before Facebook, Smartphones, and Patriots’ Super Bowls.

After all this time, I keep coming back to one thought: If you’re someone fighting prostate cancer, I hope to never see you again.

Hold on. Stick with me. Let me explain.

I’ve met and become friends with hundreds of patients and families over the years. Like you, I’ve lost many friends to this horrendously painful, life-stealing disease. It amputates souls, destroys marriages, and tears a wound in families that never heals. Some of these patients are warriors, battling prostate cancer for years and inspiring others to move forward. We carry the cause forward for these patients and families. Most times, it’s these folks with which I form strong lifetime friendships. 

Jamie Bease, ZERO Cancer Day

For each one of these wonderful people who are part of the ZERO family, there are more patients than ever we never really get the chance to know too well. It’s true. Twenty years ago, robotic surgery had just begun. Aside from surgery, we had radiation and only one form of hormone therapy. Now, early detection, precision medicine, and dozens of successful treatment pathways are putting prostate cancer in the rearview mirror for patients; enabling them to have healthy and happy lives with barely any other thought about the disease.

It’s these patients who give me hope. Every week, I talk to new patients who seek some information, or a little guidance as they navigate their diagnosis or where to turn during a change in the state of their disease, and I always end the conversation with the hope that we’ll never meet again. I hope they find their Lahaina.

We’ve all got a Lahaina. Maybe for you, it’s Wamego, Kansas or New Castle, Delaware—but we’ve all got one, and it’s only when we come together as one to fight the disease by focusing on inequities in care, the desperate need for early detection, and the need to individualize a treatment pathway for each patient, can we get to our happy place.

Niamh Connolly, Director of Events, Jamie Bearse, CEO, and Kathy Costigan, Chief Development Officer

We need more champions for this cause. I need you. The ZERO family needs you. Help us fight for this cause over the next generation because, I promise you, we’re close. Closer to better and more accessible genetic testing, more specifically targeted immunotherapies for earlier stage patients, having the ability to treat prostate cancer soon after it’s detected with specialized radiation beamlets, and improving diversity in clinical trials to end prostate cancer for everyone.

Now I want you to tell me. Where is your happy place and, moving forward, what do we need to do more of or differently as a team to ZERO out prostate cancer?