Linwood man walking for a cure in Relay for Life
Many men aren't as lucky. David Seveland, a prostate cancer survivor, counts himself among the fortunate ones.
The truth about prostate cancer lies in the statistics: roughly 220,000 people, or the equivalent of the population of Orlando, Fla., are diagnosed with prostate cancer each year.
Thirty thousand deaths are attributed annually to the disease. It is the leading cause of death among men with cancer, and one in every six men will contract the disease during their lives, according to the American Cancer Society.
Seveland, 69, Linwood, a participant in this weekend's Relay for Life in Bonner Springs, said he's among the minority of prostate cancer statistics.
He caught the disease in an early enough stage for successful treatment.
"It was quite by accident," he said. "(The cancer) was discovered because of an employer-sponsored health fair in Dallas. A simple blood test indicated that I should see a doctor. The cancer was in the very early stages, and the removal of my prostate in 1994 eliminated the cancer.
"If I'd gone on my way, I'd have been in trouble for sure," he said.
The disease appeared from nowhwere, with no warning and no symptoms, he says today, nine years removed from the ordeal.
"There was nothing, no warning," Seveland said. "I think that's what gets lots of guys in trouble."
His run in with the disease could have been much worse, he said. Over the years, cancer has claimed the lives of 10 of his family members, including his mother, when he was just 13 years old.
"I consider myself very lucky," he said.
After his bout and subsequent defeat of the disease, Seveland, a member of the Bonner Springs United Methodist Church, felt a higher calling to aid in the fight against cancer.
Initially, Seveland and his wife donated to the American Cancer Society. This Friday night, though, the couple will use sneakers instead of their wallets to help secure funding for research against cancer.
The Kaw Valley Relay for Life will start at 7 p.m. Friday at the track at Bonner Springs High School. Teams of volunteers from Basehor, Bonner Springs and Shawnee will walk until 7 a.m. Saturday to raise money for the fight against cancer.
"I just felt that it sends a message," Seveland said. "It helps promote awareness and that's what's important."
Today, Seveland is cancer free. Has been since 1994, he said.
He urges other men, especially those in their 50s, the age the disease becomes most prevalent, to get themselves checked out. If not, they might not be as lucky as Seveland.
"It's just a blood test," he said. "It's important to catch it early.
"My message to other men is this: get tested on a regular basis. It might just save your life."