Ray Hoetger received his first PSA test more than a decade ago, at the age of 52. He was given the “all clear” and tested again a few years later, when a biopsy revealed that he had prostate cancer. He took action quickly: Ray had robotic surgery to remove his prostate. It was then that his medical team discovered that his cancer had spread outside the prostate, and he began hormone therapy to treat his disease. Five and a half years later, his cancer is still undetectable.
Ray’s battle with the disease and realization that they didn’t want their four young sons to face the same fight, spurred Ray and Linda into action. They are now passionate, active ZERO advocates in their home state of Ohio, often travelling to events and educating men and their families about the disease. With Ray’s prostate cancer diagnosis came a battle for Linda as well – she’s committed to raising awareness for caregivers of men with prostate cancer, and is passionate about educating women on her story and how important it is to be aware of the struggles of not only the man with the disease, but the caregiver as well.
[My wife Linda and I have] gone through this now for five plus years, and I couldn’t have done it without her. She inspires me and I inspire her, we’ve been a team for almost 32 years. We do it together.
In addition to all of their hard work at awareness events in their community, Linda and Ray work tirelessly to petition local elected officials for proclamations declaring September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. To-date they have received more than 193 in Ohio. They are also frequent attendees at ZERO’s Prostate Cancer Summit, and Linda’s dedication to advocacy is well known at ZERO and in the prostate cancer community. She once broke her leg while on Capitol Hill for the Summit and did not miss a single meeting.
Most recently, U.S. Congresswoman Joyce Beatty recognized the Hoetger’s hard work and declared September as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month on the House floor in 2015.
A lot of the time everyone says that prostate cancer is strictly a man’s disease. And it is – but it is also a couple’s disease. And just because my husband has prostate cancer, doesn’t mean that I don’t. I share my story to say that this is how it is for us.
Hear more from Ray and Linda