Robert Ginyard - Entrepreneur, Speaker, and Now Prostate Cancer Survivor
Just four years ago my efforts were focused on reviving my business- which specialized in producing customized designer tote bags for women. I thought things were really taking shape for me; my products were being featured in national newspapers, magazines, and on national television. Although things looked promising, I knew as a former banker & marketing director I had a major battle on my hands to raise capital so that I could continue to grow my business. I would never have imagined that very soon my priorities would change and the biggest battle I would face would be the battle with prostate cancer.
I recall the day I received the phone call from the urologist informing me that I had prostate cancer. I was devastated. Several things came to mind: How in the heck could this happen to me? What did I do to deserve this? What happens now? What about the well-being of my wife and two daughters?
Initially, I didn't want anyone to know. I didn't want the stigma of having cancer, and I certainly didn't want people to start writing my obituary. I found myself thinking about the end of life, but what I discovered was it really was a new beginning.
Now I am a part of the "Reluctant Brotherhood". I'm one of the millions of men who have battled and continue to battle prostate cancer. I was once very hesitant to be a spokesperson; but now I think I owe it to other men and their families to share my experiences. When I speak to men I don't shy away from the sensitive topics and dive in and tackle the major issues like sex, love, and life after prostate cancer head-on.
I've also had opportunities to appear before Congress (The Senate Appropriations Committee) to share my story and advocate for increased funding for prostate cancer research; as well as talk to ABCNews.Com, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Michael Eric Dyson Show, and many other publications and news outlets. I'm currently a member of the Board of Directors of ZERO- The End of Prostate Cancer, and a member of the Johns Hopkins Center to Reduce Cancer Disparities Consumer Advisory Group. My work in prostate cancer advocacy inspired me to create DiBi DiBi: Dream it. Believe it. Do it. Be it.- a new awareness campaign to encourage people to live out their dreams.
In addition to talking to men one-on-one and other groups, I've also shared my prostate cancer experience by serving as a consumer reviewer on several PCRP peer review panels. What is most impressive about the peer review panels is the fact that everyone involved brings a unique set of experiences and knowledge to the discussions to provide a balanced approach when evaluating potential research ideas. Getting involved with the PCRP has been one of the best decisions in my life. It is truly where the rubber meets the road in terms of identifying new research that could lead to a cure for prostate cancer, and identifying treatments options to improve the quality of life for men living with the disease.