Shanita Perry’s grandfather was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999, but even after a radical prostatectomy, the disease recurred in 2007. His cancer was slow growing, and it wasn’t until nearly 10 years later in October 2016 that he was hospitalized. He was having trouble walking, and a bone scan revealed his cancer had metastasized.
My grandpa battled this disease with so much faith, no matter how much pain he was in.
Shanita then decided to learn more. She began researching the disease and local run/walk events she could participate in, which is how she found ZERO.
“I couldn’t take away his pain, but I wanted to fight. My first instinct was to fight, to see what I could do to help. I walked the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk in Long Beach for him, because he couldn’t.”
Shanita found the ZERO Run/Walk in Long Beach and registered immediately. Then, on April 17th, 2017, her grandfather lost his battle with the disease. Though the race was only a few short months later, she wanted to walk the full 5k in his memory. She visited all of the vendors at the event, learning as much as she could and eventually meeting ZERO’s’ California Chapter Director, Vanessa.
Seeing everyone out there, especially all of the survivors, and hearing all of these different stories from different people, it was amazing. It was hundreds of strangers all connected in just one way. Prostate cancer affected all of us, and there is still so much that most people don’t know about it.
After the race, Shanita discovered a new opportunity to continue to raise awareness into September: Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. She began by emailing three or four cities in California for Proclamations – an official designation within a city, state, or county to honor and raise awareness for a certain day or month.
I’m on a mission to raise awareness and advocate for men battling prostate cancer. I’ve had the opportunity to talk to support groups and other men on their journey to tell my grandfather’s story and give what advice I can. My grandpa was a huge part of my world, and I know he’d be proud that I’m making a difference. Even if I educate just one person – one small ripple can make a tidal wave.
Her goal is 30 proclamations, and she’s on a roll, with 19 proclamations to-date.
I completely believe in what ZERO is doing. We can have a Generation ZERO – with early detection and increased awareness among men of the need to take care of themselves, and how serious this disease is, we can do it. I love everything ZERO stands for, and I’m glad to be able to join the fight.