As I shared on this blog earlier thanks to many of you I was awarded the 2014 Harry Pinchot award. This prestigious award is made annually by the Prostate Cancer Research Institute (PCRI) and is given at their annual gala dinner which was this past Saturday night. I was joined at my table by my wife Dr. Wendy Lebowitz, my son Dov Lebowitz-Nowak, his girlfriend Amber Bloom, and Malecare’s Executive Director, Darryl Mitteldorf, as well as a number of friends who live in the Los Angeles area.
I was allowed to deliver an acceptance speech which I had written in anticipation. When I accepted the award, I went off script, but still wish to share what I had written as these are my sentiments.
My Speech as Written:
I would like to point out to everyone here this evening that during the 3 hours we are here having this celebration, 105 men worldwide will have died from advanced prostate cancer. I say advanced prostate cancer because men do not die from prostate cancer; they die from advanced prostate cancer.
This is in essence why I am here this evening, or more accurately why I do what I do.
I am a survivor of four separate primary cancers, including advanced prostate cancer. Unlike the other cancer diagnoses I have received, when I found out I had a PC recurrence I was put into a tailspin. I searched for support and good, reliable education about my disease, which I knew, would be ultimately terminal. Despite my living in New York City, with all of its hospitals and educational institutions, I was shockingly unable to locate any support or educational program specific to my diagnosis, metastatic prostate cancer.
My search went on, but it constantly came to a dead end causing me increasing levels of anger. Darryl Mitteldorf, the Founding Executive Director of Malecare, responding to my anger after a Malecare support group that again did not respond to my personal needs, gave me a simple challenge: he told me to stop complaining and do something about it.
I went home, even madder and angrier. I discussed the experience with Wendy, my loving and supportive wife. She responded, “So Joel, why don’t you do something about it?”
So, with Wendy and Darryl’s support I picked up the gauntlet and decided to go out and make a difference in the lives of the men with advanced PC as well as their families.
I started out small as Darryl set up a blog dedicated to advanced PC with the simple directive that I write everyday and write about anything I wish as long as it pertained to advanced PC. Currently, I have written over fifteen hundred posts on this blog, although I do confess I no longer write a post every day; I now take off the weekends.
Over time the blog has changed, today I mostly use it to translate and to inform survivors about cutting edge, translational PC research that could make a difference in their life as well as issues of advocacy, treatment options and public policy that directly a