Mark your calendars for October 13-15 in Denver, Colorado for a first of its kind Testicular Cancer Summit!
As a six year survivor of testicular cancer who's also been involved with non-profit and advocacy work, there's a lot of people that I've met over the years thanks to the Internet and social media that I've not just become friends with, but that I've come to truly love and appreciate as human beings. I've longed to meet so many of these people in person not just to shake hands, but to hug and maybe shed a few tears with, too. I'd wanted to get some sort of national "Testicular Cancer Summit" going for the past few years now, but it's such a daunting task. I didn't even know where to begin, and so I never started, but the desire to do this never left me.
I was on a plane last year heading to the Far East and Singapore for vacation and to visit family, and was thinking about this idea again. How do I make this happen? There were so many people I just longed to meet in person for once. One of those people was Ron Bye, an incredible 40-plus years survivor of testicular cancer, who has been such an inspiration to so many of us. Ron was diagnosed with Stage II testicular cancer in 1975, back when it was still considered to be a death sentence. The life-saving Cisplatin drug that has saved millions of lives to date was still only in clinical trial phase then, but he miraculously survived. Ron had been a hero to me, and what I wouldn't have given to just shake this man's hand one day, and others like him.
Funny things happen in life sometimes. Who do you think just happened to be in Singapore at the same exact time as my family and I, and on his first ever trip to Asia, other than Ron Bye! You can read more about that encounter here, and what an incredible synchronicity it was. Meeting Ron was amazing, along with solidifying our friendship. Personal connections like these matter.
At the end of last year, Ron gave me a call and said he wanted to organize a testicular cancer summit. He had me at hello. We'd never discussed doing this when we'd met in person or online, but little did both of us know, we both longed to do the same thing. Ron mentioned that in over 40 years of surviving testicular cancer, he could count the number of other testicular cancer survivors he'd met on just one hand, and that it was time to change that. Another testicular cancer survivor that Ron had met over the years was Scott Joy, someone I knew very well and who was high up on my list of people I'd longed to meet in person one day also. Scott has been a force for good not just in the testicular cancer community, but for the cancer community as a whole through all of his hard work for the Livestrong Foundation over the years. Scott quickly joined our planning committee, and from there we managed to pick up Kim Jones of the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation as a primary sponsor, survivor Mike Craycraft of the Testicular Cancer Society, survivor and motivational speaker Steve Fillmore, and finally, Dr Phillip Pierorazio, MD, Assistant Professor of Urology and Oncology, and Director of Testis Cancer Division at Brady Urology, Johns Hopkins University. This is a great team of people, and this is going to be an amazing event!
When it comes to making these personal connections real, there's no one in the testicular cancer world that people would love to meet more than Dr. Lawrence Einhorn, and indeed, many of us wouldn't even be here if it wasn't for him. I'm one of them. It was Dr Einhorn's pioneering work with the Cisplatin drug in the 1970's that turned testicular cancer from the death sentence that it had been with a 10% survival rate, to the highly curable cancer that it is today with a 90% overall survival rate! There are hundreds of thousands of testicular cancer survivors who are alive today because of this man's work just in the U.S. alone, and the Cisplatin drug is commonly used to successfully treat other cancers as well. Dr. Einhorn has literally saved millions of lives because of his work. It'd have been tough to ever put together a summit for a disease that almost no one had survived, prior to Dr Einhorn's work. There's no one single person we'd want to honor more.
We reached out to Dr. Einhorn. He'll be there.
Not only will Dr Einhorn be attending this Testicular Cancer Summit in Denver, but he'll be delivering an hour and a half long keynote address and Q&A session on Saturday morning, to formally get the summit rolling. We could not be more grateful.
No matter how testicular cancer has affected your life, and whether you're a direct survivor, a co-survivor or caregiver, or you've lost someone that you love to this disease, you won't want to miss this life-changing event. Never will have have so many testicular cancer survivors and members of this community have been in the same place all at the same time, with so many great minds both from the survivors community and the oncology world all present. This will not just be a great event to finally get those handshakes and hugs from people that you've known for so long, but to also network and learn from the brightest minds in the testicular cancer world. This will be an unforgettable and life-changing event, and we hope that you'll join us!
On behalf of the Testicular Cancer Summit planning committee, we look forward to seeing you in October!