New unified organization addresses growing pandemic issues for prostate cancer patients, survivors, families, and medical professionals
Washington, D.C., October 26, 2021 – The prostate cancer community has a new patient-centric powerhouse in its corner with the officially completed merger of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer and Us TOO International. This newly unified organization creates a comprehensive support system for prostate cancer patients, survivors, and caregivers. It also increases prostate cancer awareness and advances research and access to care through a united advocacy platform.
Due to COVID-19, prostate cancer patients have experienced heartbreaking interruptions in treatments and delays in annual screenings, and they face numerous other obstacles as the pandemic continues. More than 250,000 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer this year alone.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on men and families battling prostate cancer,” said ZERO's CEO and President, Jamie Bearse. “This merger means more robust resources for patients, survivors, and caretakers at a critical time when they need them most."
Together as one, ZERO and Us TOO create a stronger platform to provide comprehensive support to patients and their families. The need is urgent to directly address the increase of emotional, financial, and physical challenges caused by COVID-19 to those who are already in a health crisis fighting prostate cancer.
In addition, serving as a single educational resource will help reach more patients and communities on important issues including ever-developing treatment options, early detection and active surveillance, diagnostics, survivorship, and emotional and physical well-being. Two major priorities for the combined organization are to address the growing need for patient support as a result of the pandemic and to eliminate the racial disparities in prostate cancer.
As part of the merger, ZERO is honored to add four Us TOO board members to its Board of Directors. These new additions bring deep expertise and passion as prostate cancer survivors and mission-driven fundraisers. The new board members are Marty Chakoian, Jim Schraidt, Alan Goldman, and Jon Poindexter.
Marty Chakoian is a prostate cancer survivor and former Chairman of Us TOO. He was diagnosed in 2004 and will continue to lead the Seattle US TOO Support Group. He has two adult sons living in the Seattle area whom he reminds to get tested on a regular basis.
After a prostatectomy in 2010 at the age of 58, Jim Schraidt attended the Us TOO Gilda's Club Chicago Support Group. He's led the group since 2014 and is committed to helping men and their partners with the physical and emotional problems resulting from prostate cancer treatment.
Alan Goldman was diagnosed in 2008 with prostate cancer. He had a radical prostatectomy and has been cancer free since his surgery. Alan is married, lives in the Chicago area, and has two children.
Jon Poindexter has several relatives who are prostate cancer survivors and he is a passionate advocate for raising awareness and funds. He has championed the cause by leading “Team Poindexter” at the SEA Blue Chicago Prostate Cancer Walk and Run for over a decade.
"From awareness to diagnosis to survivorship—we can help men and their caregivers at every step of the journey," said Marty Chakoian, a new member of ZERO's Board of Directors. "The marriage between ZERO's established patient support programs and chapter infrastructure with Us TOO's more than 200 volunteer-led Support Groups across the country equips prostate cancer patients and families with a greater array of financial and emotional support."
ZERO's Medical Advisory Board also gained several new members who previously served as US TOO board members. Dr. Stacy Loeb is a urologist, researcher and Sirius XM radio host. Dr. Laurence Klotz currently serves as Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto and holds the Sunnybrook Chair of Prostate Cancer Research. Additionally, Lester J. Raff, MD MBA is the Medical Director and founder of the laboratory for UroPartners, LLC, the largest urology group in the Chicago Metropolitan area.
Stuart Gellman is a prostate cancer survivor and will be joining ZERO's Patient and Caregiver Advisory Board.
ZERO also welcomes all five staff members from Us TOO. Each has extensive backgrounds and knowledge of both the prostate cancer community and working in the non-profit space. Terri Likowski joins ZERO as Director of Us TOO Support Groups. James Hutson is ZERO's Director of Development. Tracy Cameron is ZERO's Midwest Chapter Manager. Tim Mix joins as ZERO's Director, Program Marketing. Finally, Rebecca Bouck is the Manager of the Black Men's Prostate Cancer Initiative.
The combined organization now operates under ZERO's name, 501(c)3 designation, brand, logo, and website. The Us TOO name will officially live on as the Us TOO Support Groups, which includes more than 200 support groups across North America.
To learn more about this merger, ZERO, and Us TOO Support Groups, please visit zerocancer.org.