During the summer of 1997 Walter Pearce, a well-known radio and television weatherman was featured on the Evening Telegram's Lifestyle page outlining his encounter with Prostate Cancer. In that interview, Walter described in detail, his worries and fears, both he and his family were having dealing with prostate cancer. He went on to say that he wished some Newfoundland & Labrador men would come together and share their fears and concerns through a support group like that had done for breast cancer patients.
A few weeks later, come 167 men and their partners attended a meeting called by the Canadian Cancer Society. In attendance were a number of local physicians including urologists, oncologists, and general practitioners who, for the first time in our province's history, discussed in an open and public forum, the diagnostic and treatment options for prostate cancer. Words such as BPH, digital and biopsy examinations, PSA and Gleason scores; radicals, radiation, chemo, hormone, and "watchfully waiting" were all new words which many of us in attendance, would become very familiar with during the coming years.
At the close of the meeting, a call went out for a group to assist and a number of us offered ourselves to assist in the formation of the first prostate cancer support group in Newfoundland and Labrador. Among those who came forward, included Walter and Anita Pearce, Mac Butt, Otto Tucker, Newman Kelland, Norman and Lorraine Ryan and Curtis LeGrow. Carole Barron, the then Executive Director of the Canadian Cancer Society, was extremely supportive and provided both facilities and funding to permit this new group to forge ahead with the development of the prostate cancer support groups.
While support and information are the main reasons for our existence, we do take some time to hold social time after each of our meetings. This permits us the opportunity to get to know each other better and talk about any concerns or problems we may be dealing with. This has proven to be helpful to all those concerned.
Some of the activities the membership has been involved with since our inception are:
· Development of a team to make Prostate Cancer Awareness presentations to church, community, fraternal and business group province wide
· Developed, in conjunction with the CCS, a mentoring course to assist 6 support group members and their partners to assist recently diagnosed PC patients with support and information
· Help Public forums across the province
· Developed and managed the Walk a Mile in His Shoes Fundraiser and raised over $250,000 from 30+ locations
· Developed a "Living Proof" poster awareness campaign that was adapted by CPCN as a national campaign