Ever since David Pieper’s father was diagnosed with prostate cancer nearly 20 years ago, he has been proactive and aware of the need to be tested for the disease due to his family history. At the young age of 50 – and after years of a stable PSA – testing revealed that his PSA had increased significantly from previous tests. When his doctor called on a Sunday night, David knew the news wasn’t good. He had prostate cancer, and it was aggressive.
Due to his young age and the aggressive nature of his disease, David and his medical team decided on a radical prostatectomy, which he underwent in March of 2011. Though the surgery was successful, David experienced many of the post-operative complications that are often the unfortunate side effects of the surgery. Despite these complications, David didn’t let his disease get him down.
Before his diagnosis, David – a two-time All-American and national champion gymnast in Wisconsin – and his wife enjoyed the competition and camaraderie that accompanied competing in triathlons. They didn’t let his prostate cancer stop them. In fact, David competed in a triathlon only six weeks after his surgery, followed by a half marathon two weeks later.
After I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, I vowed to not allow the disease or complications from the surgery to keep me away from living my life to the fullest. And I haven’t.
Since March of 2011, he and his wife have competed in over 50 triathlons and a number of half marathons. Despite all that he’s achieved, David wanted to do something special to show himself – and others – that prostate cancer and its complications can’t – and shouldn’t – slow him down. As he approached his five-year mark of being cancer-free, David entered the Ironman Wisconsin Triathlon, scheduled for September 11, 2016. It was through a training group that David was introduced to ZERO, and he has since committed to raising $10,000 in advance of his race this fall. He’s not letting his disease slow him down, and he wants other men to know that they don’t have to either.
For David, training and competing in this race is not just for him – it’s for all men who are affected by prostate cancer, for those who have not been as lucky as he has in their battle. He is training for these men and their families, and that gives him strength. In addition to training, David is committed to raising awareness and to continuing education about prostate cancer – not only for himself, but also for his five sons, and all men in the fight.
If I can do anything at all to help patients and families dealing with prostate cancer, I want to help them navigate through their diagnosis and treatment. I want to help other men and their families, to answer their questions and listen to them when they need someone to talk to.