José “Pepe” DeLeon was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2002. Several months after having his prostate removed, follow-up tests revealed that his surgery had not caught all the cancer cells. He then faced four months of radiation treatment and within a year, his PSA started rising again.
A man of action, Pepe didn’t let his treatments stop him from living his life. Despite eight years of hormone treatments, he traveled to Alabama to see his daughters Danielle and Marlene play softball, spent time doing the things he loved, and kept a positive attitude despite his diagnosis.
In 2013 Pepe’s doctors did a PET scan following another very high PSA. The scan revealed bone metastases. Despite chemotherapy and a rising PSA, he continued to do what he loved: golfing, fishing, and spending time with his family. He was as strong as his family had seen him in years. However, in the summer of 2014, Pepe had a stroke following hip replacement surgery, and was soon diagnosed with terminal prostate cancer. He lost his long battle with the disease in January of 2015.
Pepe was an incredible man with a big soul. He lived for his family, and now we’re fighting for the men who are facing the same battle that we did. He was a fighter, and he spent 12 long years fighting. He never personally admitted that [his disease] was going to break him, and his positive attitude throughout his whole journey is what got us through.
Now, after the loss of Pepe, his wife Grace and daughters Danielle and Marlene hope to share his story to inspire others to fight the way Pepe did; to have hope and stay positive in their battle. In doing so, they found ZERO a few weeks prior to the 2015 Miami Run/Walk, and were one of the top fundraising teams.
This year, they surpassed their fundraising goal and plan to attend ZERO’s Prostate Cancer Summit in Washington, DC in early 2017. They are rock star fundraisers and advocates for ZERO, who hope to shine a light on prostate cancer awareness both in their community and nationwide.
We got involved with ZERO to help spread the word about prostate cancer. Men are often quiet about their illness and don’t want to speak up, but the disease is killing too many of our men, and it’s time to take action.