Last Sunday morning, the Premier Cares Foundation sponsored their 14th annual Prostate Walk at the Walkway Over the Hudson. Dr. Evan R. Goldfischer is a urologist and is the founder and chairman of the foundation.
Goldfischer said, “some people come to honor or in memory of someone who is battling or has died of prostate cancer, and they want to remember them and this [walk] is a way to express that. I think it’s also a way for us to raise awareness in the community about prostate cancer, which is still the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men.”
Goldfischer said in the past 14 years, “the number of treatments for prostate cancer has grown exponentially, and this event is an opportunity to show off these new treatments and say that prostate cancer is no longer the death sentence that is once was and if you are treated early and aggressively you can live a very long time now with prostate cancer.”
Goldfischer said the Prostate Walk also raises awareness of how the Premier Cares Foundation can help people in the community. He pointed out that more than 30,000 men die from this form of cancer every year and urged men to get the blood test to determine their Prostate Specific Antigen [PSA] level, a first step in determining if there is cancer present.
Goldfischer said the Foundation has, “distributed $650,000 over the 14 years to patients who have had trouble meeting their expenses and can’t afford their care, and we can help out through our Care Fund and you can apply online,” he said. “It’s very, very open; for transportation to your treatments or chemotherapy, we’ve made car, electrical and grocery bill payments; wherever you need it. No money ever goes to a doctor because we believe a doctor should give back to the community.”
Goldfischer said he is always excited about this annual event.
“My wife and I started this, and to me this has become really a legacy event here in the Hudson Valley; people look forward to it every September during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month,” he said. “We get a lot of the same people coming back to the cancer walk - from vendors to survivors to family members - and it’s just fun giving back to the community and to leave a legacy.”
Colette Hyatt is a Clinical Account Executive with Tempus.
“Tempus does genetic testing on cancer tumors for targeted treatments and also has generic testing available for familial cancer risks,” she said. “It tends to be more advanced cancers that get this type of sequencing testing on the cancer itself to look for targets or certain variants or mutations.” She said they offer other tests using blood or saliva samples to look at the genes that people are born with and can tell you about that risk. She believes this is a unique and detailed type of testing that is the future of cancer care.
Craig Debenedictus chose to have his prostate removed last year after testing showed that he had a very aggressive form of cancer. He said he now goes for checkups on a regular basis.
“I had it removed; I didn’t have any pain or anything but I’ll be around for my two grandsons and I have another one on the way,” he said.
Gia McCormack, Executive Director of Premier Cares Foundation, said about 200 people divided into 20 teams participated in the cancer walk that raised $40,000. Team Papa raised the highest amount at $1,750.
“We are really happy that we had another strong turnout this year,” she said. “We are the only Prostate Cancer Walk in the area and we are so thrilled to see all of the families and their friends join us today at this beautiful walkway to honor those who they lost or are surviving prostate cancer.”