I'm proud to be a member of The Original Gentlemen, a car club based out of Niagara Falls, New York. For the past couple of years, we’ve been invited to Roswell Park for the Cruisin’ for a Cure car show and prostate cancer early detection event. This will be my second year attending, and I’ll be bringing my 2000 Chevy Corvette. I love being part of the event, because it’s a good cause and I’ve personally been touched by cancer, so I know how important it is to catch the disease early.
Back in 1993, I was going out with a friend after work, despite the long shift I had just finished. When we got to our destination, I started to feel light-headed. The next thing I knew, I was waking up on the floor in a pool of blood and being rushed to the hospital. After some tests were run, I was told there was nothing else they could do for me and they’d be sending me to Roswell Park. I didn’t understand why until the doctor told me I had colon cancer. I couldn’t believe it. I was only 33. I was a father, and my kids were still in middle school. I thought there was no way I would ever see them graduate.
When I came to Roswell, I found out the cancer was already stage 4. I had surgery, chemo and radiation. It’s been 24 years since I was diagnosed, and I’m still here, cancer-free. I haven’t received a treatment since 2008.
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Being part of the car show at Cruisin’ for a Cure is so important to me, because I know that early detection can save lives. If sharing my story will encourage someone to get checked, then I’m happy to do it. I was never sick a day in my life and then all of a sudden I had stage 4 colon cancer. Staying on top of your checkups and taking advantage of these free screenings can literally save your life.
Some people might put it off because they’re in denial or they feel fine, but feeling fine doesn’t necessarily mean you are fine. Being diagnosed with cancer is terrifying, but there are new breakthroughs happening every day, especially at places like Roswell Park. You just have to keep the faith and never give up.