I hear often that people are too busy or don’t know how to be an advocate for prostate cancer. Another common refrain is that the “groups” will take care of it. Unfortunately the groups are often hardworking individuals like yourself. The only difference is that they just decided to just do it. Everyone has skills. Some enjoy public speaking. Others do newsletters. Maybe you enjoy computers, fund raising or are willing to stuff envelopes.
Mike Rice was one of those men. He fought tirelessly for men with prostate cancer. We lost him too young and he will leave a tremendous hole.
Mike’s obituary will let you know who he was.
Michael J. Rice
Brigadier General (MI), Ret.
Delta Township, MI
Brigadier General Michael J. Rice, former Deputy Director for the Michigan Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, died peacefully July 10th, 2007, at the age of 65 after an eleven year running gun battle with advanced prostate cancer. A loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and loyal friend to so many, Mike will be remembered for his devotion to family, his courage, resolve, humor and leadership. He is survived by his loving wife of 40 years, Bobbi (Barbara), son, Dr. Michael D. Rice (Dr. Guillermina Nava-Rice), daughter Laura Rice-Oeschger (Brent) and cherished granddaughters, Ileana and Jaylee Oeschger. He is also survived by his brothers Dr. John Rice (June), Stephen Rice (Phyllis), nieces, nephews and many dear and cherished friends. General Rice’s distinguished career with the Michigan Army National Guard and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs was highlighted by his many command and staff assignments and expertise in inter-governmental coordination and legislative affairs. He coordinated implementation of Michigan’s $172 million Vietnam Veterans Bonus Program in 1976. General Rice coordinated the transfer of the State Veterans Homes and the Michigan Veterans Trust Fund into the Department. He built the organizational framework for the Department’s veterans programming and in 1996 was appointed Michigan’s Asst. Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs. A Wayne State University graduate, his professional education was extensive – including the United States Army War College and the Harvard University JFK School of Government Program for Executives in State and Local Government. General Rice received an additional federal appointment in July 2000 as Michigan State Director for the Selective Service System – overseeing the agency’s mobilization readiness, recruitment and training of Michigan Draft Board members and concurrently served in that capacity until he retired from state government in 2002. General Rice’s skillful battle with prostate cancer and his untiring advocacy for cancer patients gained him local, state and national recognition. He served on the University of Michigan Prostate SPORE (Special Programs of Research Excellence) Operating Committee and External Advisory Board – a special National Cancer Institute program to expedite promising cancer research. General Rice was elected to the Michigan Cancer Consortium Board of Directors in 2006 and had previously served on the Consortium’s Prostate Cancer Action Committee for several years. He was selected by the National Cancer Institute to be a member of the Consumer Advocates in Research and Related Activities (CARRA) Program since 2002. He was a charter member and immediate past-president of the Prostate Cancer Coalition of Michigan, a non-profit corporation to combat prostate cancer through education and outreach. General Rice was also a charter member and director of the National Alliance of State Prostate Cancer Coalitions. Active locally, General Rice served as a steering committee member and mentor for the Mid-Michigan Prostate Cancer Support Group assisting men and their partners in coping with the disease, promoting screening and serving on the Sparrow Health System’s annual Cancer Survivorship Symposium and the Ingham Regional Medical Center’s Prostate Cancer Committee. Mike presented frequently in professional and public forums on cancer survivorship and patient advocacy. A long time member of Plymouth Congregational Church, Mike served on numerous boards and committees including Chair, Board of Trustees and Church Moderator. In lieu of flowers, those desiring may make contributions to the Prostate Cancer Coalition of Michigan, 5540 Grayfield, Ypsilanti, MI 48197 or the University of Michigan Prostate Cancer Research Fund, 1500 E. Medical Center Drive, 7303 CCGC, Ann Arbor, MI 48109 or to Plymouth Congregational Church.
Let Mike be your inspiration. Are you ready to get involved? Look around, start something new or get involved with an existing group. Maybe you can start by just writing a letter to your legislator.
Just do it.