Sam Mullins’ father was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2013. A year later, Sam – an Air Force veteran – decided to see his doctor after feeling sluggish and having no energy. After eight years of experience working directly with jet fuel – combined with his age and family history – his PSA level of 1.4 was of concern to his doctor.
Finding all his test results the same in April 2015, his doctor gave him a choice. He told him: If he were to put Sam in front of a panel of 10 urologists, maybe three of them would agree to perform a biopsy. Sam decided to go ahead with the biopsy anyway, and on May 14, 2015 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer at only 37 years old. This diagnosis came less than two years after his father’s diagnosis.
After learning all he could about his disease at the behest of his doctor, Sam learned that his father’s original decision to “do nothing” about his prostate cancer was actually considered Active Surveillance. After speaking with a team of doctors, Sam and his wife decided to go ahead with a radical prostatectomy in June of 2015.
On August 3, 2015 – his father’s birthday – Sam gave his father the best birthday present he could imagine: his follow-up appointment revealed that Sam’s PSA level was undetectable. On that very same day Sam attended his first prostate cancer survivor’s meeting, led by ZERO San Antonio Race Directors Dr. and Joni Reyna. Sam decided then and there that he wanted to be involved in the ZERO Run/Walk in San Antonio, and that very night he went home and began to build his team.
By race day a few weeks later he had recruited 75 participants and nearly 30 volunteers, spreading awareness beyond just his local community and network. Sam is now dedicated to raising awareness to help end prostate cancer, and was a first-time attendee at ZERO’s Prostate Cancer Summit in Washington, DC in early 2016, storming the Hill to talk to his Texas elected officials about the need for prostate cancer funding at $90M.
[When I started to get involved with the ZERO Run/Walk] I wanted to spread the word about prostate cancer and erase the stigma that men have to be macho and not talk about this disease. I share my story at work with all our recruiting students to raise awareness and show them that it is okay to talk about this topic. It is okay to have this conversation with their husband, dad, grandfather, uncles, cousins, or maybe even their next-door neighbor. I want to help eradicate this disease even if it is one person and one donation at a time.