My heart goes out to you and the family of your friend, Jason Mackenroth. I've kept you and his family in my thoughts and prayers since reading your post. I'm mindful of the loss that you and his family are both feeling right now. It's been on my mind the past few days.
Your friend's story resonates with me, as I was also diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer in my 40s. There's a group of us here in that boat, right here on this website. This website has provided support to so many people over time, as you will attest. I'm glad to know that your friend had visited this website in the past. I hope he found solace and support here on this website ...
My father is also a prostate cancer patient and my father and I have the exact same doctors. Because of this connection, my father and I continue to share our health story with everyone from my hometown. As a result of our shared story, other men from my hometown have now gone to the doctor and have been diagnosed and are now actively pursuing treatments --- friends of mine and also friends of my father ... and friends that we share in common.
Because we represent two generations, our story is reaching a wide range of people from my hometown area, across an entire county --- coffee shop conversations, church groups, civic organizations, fraternal organizations, neighbors, friends, townspeople, and our high school classmates who visit my hometown. I travel to my hometown about
once a month, and Dad and I keep sharing the story that we share in common now with people we have known our entire lives --- everywhere we go --- restaurants, town events, church dinners, coffee shops, the barber shop, hometown sports events ... just quiet, heartfelt, sincere conversations, that begin and end with a handshake. You can imagine the incredible bond that my father and I now share because of this ...
I think others here seem to feel that men don't always listen to television health commercials or read public service health announcements on billboards --- but I think men will often listen to a FRIEND or NEIGHBOR or COLLEAGUE who shares a personal health testimonial. If all of us can remember that, and keep sharing our story, one-by-one, collectively ... we can make a tremendous difference over time. We've got members here from all over the country and from international countries, too --- think of the impact we can make. Talk to your brothers, your sons, your friends, your work colleagues, your high school classmates, your neighbors ... it gets easier, once you get started. If there's one thing I have learned over time since being diagnosed, it's this: find your voice and "REACH OUT" ... in whatever way you can ...
One-by-one, I have also sat down with my younger brother, my male cousins who grew up with me and went to school with me, and even shared my story with my six nephews who are growing up now ... telling them to be vigilant throughout their lives. Every single one of them hugs me every time they see me now ... I think those visits made an impact on all of them ...
In my own life here, I now have five or six direct friends who now share my same diagnosis, from different chapters of my life ... hometown friends, one of my college roommates, a church minister friend, a work colleague ... all of them are my same age and most of them have been tight friends with me for decades ... some of them just diagnosed this past year. I have formed a tight bond of brotherhood with each one of them and it's an incredible bond. Together, we are finding ways to spread the word to others about
the importance of early detection --- and seeking treatment, when necessary.
I am a school teacher and the church is located right across the street from my school building --- the church minister and I have been friends for over 20 years, and now we both share the same health diagnosis. When I first got diagnosed, he showed incredible BROTHERHOOD to me, visiting me in my classroom after school, just to check on me and to show his support for me during all the treatments I have pursued. I've known him and his family for years and have also taught his children, so we had been friends for a long time.
Ironically, he was just diagnosed himself this past year, after I had encouraged HIM to go to the doctor. So, now the "brotherhood" is reciprocal, the tables were turned, and this time I went immediately to visit HIM at his church as soon as I heard the news of his diagnosis. He asked me to get together every week this past summer at the church, since he was just facing a new diagnosis, and the news was sudden and unexpected for him. After a couple of visits together, we realized that we had been given a very unique opportunity to perhaps reach out to others, since we both know everyone in the community.
We talked about
many things during our weekly visits at the church ... the impact of friendship, fellowship, family ... by the end of the summer, he had turned all of our summer conversations at the church into a written journal of our shared health experiences and life lessons learned ... with my permission, he turned some of our conversations into weekly sermons to share with the congregation in this town where I teach and he ministers. Together, the minister and I have shared our story with everyone in town ... my school colleagues, his church congregation, and community members all over town. The handshakes and outreach with others continue ... post office, grocery store, school events, high school football games ...
The town minister and I also connect with the young students in my school who have been diagnosed with cancer and have formed bonds of friendship and support with each one of them. It's very humbling for me, because I am learning life lessons from THEM. Back in my classroom, my students and I work together on some charity projects that benefit Blank Children's Hospital in Des Moines, where young cancer patients from all over this region are treated ... and my students are learning the importance of REACHING OUT.
We all have a story to tell since being diagnosed ... this just seems to be the story of the pathway that my life has taken since being diagnosed ... and it sounds like your friend Jason Mackenroth had a tremendous life story that won't be forgotten --- still performing, as he did, during the Christmas season. Jason Mackenroth had found HIS way of reaching out in the battle we all face ...
Tony --- I'm mindful of your friend's family and feel a heartfelt loss at the news you shared. William Shakespeare said that "Action Is Eloquence" and in that vein of thought, I have sent a financial memorial in honor of your friend, Jason Mackenroth, to a national prostate cancer charity, for additional prostate cancer research in the future.
Thank you, Tony, for the work that you do with prostate cancer --- and your dedication to the cause.
My thoughts to you and to his family,
Iowa State "Cyclone"
Post Edited (ISU-CycloneFan) : 1/10/2016 12:44:43 PM (GMT-7)