On August 9, Skip Ciccarelli, a 60-year-old prostate cancer survivor arrived at New York City’s Manhattan Kayak Company, located at Pier 66. He was greeted by almost nobody and without any representatives of the press to cover the end of his journey!
Ciccarelli arrival at Pier 66 having completed his Olympian type marathon. His arrival completed a 1,700 mile, 54-day kayak trek to raise awareness for prostate cancer and to mark the seventh anniversary of his prostatectomy. This past Fathers’ Day weekend he set off from Lake Michigan in Chicago and headed for New York City.
In 2002 he was diagnosed with aggressive prostate cancer and was told by his doctors that he had two months time before the cancer spread to other parts of his body. After consultation with a team of doctors in Boston, he decided on a course of treatment that included surgery. He is now cancer-free, or so we hope.
“At the time I realized, that like most men, I was clueless about prostate cancer and at how little men know about their own bodies,” said Ciccarelli. “I later realized that I could use my own abilities to help raise awareness. By drawing attention to prostate cancer, I’m hoping more men will get prostate checkups and PSA screenings, and that more research will focus on this disease. When was the last time you heard someone talk about prostate cancer?”
(My comment- The last time I heard an outsider talk about prostate cancer was to attack the need for PSA testing and to recommend that men over 75 years old not be given PSA tests.)
Ciccarelli’s marathon paddle took him through Lakes Michigan, Huron, St. Claire and Erie, the Detroit River and the Erie Canal before he started down the Hudson River.
While resting in Albany he said that “It has been a gratifying experience. I was one man, but the support, generosity and personal stories of so many wonderful people who traveled with me in my heart lifted my kayak. Along the way I met hundreds of men of all ages and their families, many of who have been touched directly by prostate cancer. For others it was the first time they really thought about this disease. If I reached just a dozen men who are now committed to annual prostate screening and early detection, it has been worth the effort.”
You can read more about Skip and his journey at https://web.archive.org/web/20170531015524/http://paddle4prostate.org/.
So, where was the press? They were not there nor did they make any mention about his accomplishments or prostate cancer. I guess that their failure to greet him should not surprise me. We all know that prostate cancer is a disease of old men and nobody dies from it, just with it.
Joel T Nowak MA, MSW
Congratulations to Mr. Ciccarelli and his accomplishments on raising awareness about prostate cancer.