It’s been 23 years since Ed Eyford heard what 65 Canadian men are told daily — “You have prostate cancer.”
“It wasn’t even on my radar although it should have been,” said Eyford, who was 51 at the time.
He resolved to learn as much as possible about the disease.
“I bought a book and read it cover to cover. All I could think about was that I wanted it out of my body.”
Because of his experience, Eyford became involved with the Vernon Prostate Cancer Support and Awareness Group, which is helping the Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation organize Sunday’s 15th annual Do It For Dad Run/Walk.
“We raise money to buy equipment for the hospital, to support the support and awareness group and for PSA screening vouchers,” said Eyford.
PSA screenings are not covered by medical services unless a man has a history of prostate cancer.
Unlike Eyford, Tony Hutchinson was always well aware of the risks of prostate cancer. Due to a family history of the disease, he would diligently get regular PSA check-ups.
And six years ago at age 64, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer.
“It was a complete shock,” said Mabel Hutchinson, Tony’s wife of 30 years.
“You don’t know what to do. Soon you are in the system and it becomes your way of life. When one person has cancer, everyone in the family is living with it.”
Tony received hormone therapy, chemotherapy and radiation but a subsequent bone scan revealed the cancer had spread. He died two years later.
“Everybody is on a journey in life. This is mine. You have to keep those good memories and know there is something out there for you,” said Mabel.
Now 22 years cancer free, Eyford never misses an opportunity to talk about prostate health.
Since men with a family history of prostate cancer have a 50 per cent increased risk of developing the disease, he makes sure his two sons get tested, carries a stack of free screening vouchers to give out, and advises men to get the PSA test and the digital-rectal test.
“You have to have both. And for the test, you need to have a doctor, because the lab has to have somewhere to send your results,” he said.
On Sunday, the Do It For Dad Run /Walk presented by Interior Savings takes place at Coldstream Ranch, with registration at 8:30 a.m. and the event at 9:30 a.m.
To date, $4,000 has been raised from Interior Savings, while there is $1,410 from the Knights of Columbus, $1,370 from Bean Scene and $1,442 from Hytec.
To register or donate towards Do It For Dad, to go to www.vjhfoundation.org or call 250-558-1362.
For information about the Vernon Prostate Cancer Support and Awareness Group, contact Eyford at 250-545-6220.