SEA Stories - Quotes of Holiday Hope

SEA Stories

SEA Stories are our “tales from the heart” from those who are affected by prostate cancer and who want to share their experiences in order to provide hope and inspiration to others. This holiday season, we offer the following quotes which speak about the importance of having a strong community to help make informed decisions on prostate cancer testing, treatment, and management of side effects. If you have a quote you would like to add to this page, please contact friends@ustoo.org. (Be sure to send a high resolution photo as well!)

Please CLICK HERE to donate to our Holiday Hope fundraising campaign to help Us TOO provide support, education, and advocacy for the prostate cancer community at no charge.

CLICK HERE to learn more about Holiday Hope.

Photo of Dave Treat
"It has been almost three years now since I was diagnosed with prostate cancer. When it happened, my mind went crazy with fear and depression. God put the group of guys from the Us TOO Plateau Support Group in Enumclaw into my life. They just seem to keep appearing one after another, offering love and support. Expecting nothing in return. They walked with me through surgery to find my cancer was not contained. They again walked with me through radiation and now hormone therapy. They have truly given me the strength to walk my path, and shown me how to be of service and to help others on their own paths. Service seems to be the key, helping others always seems to bring me out of my funk. To see others as they get hope, as I have gotten, is the magic of the support group. Live the path, share the path, walk with others, never be ashamed of your illness, and give freely of your experience. You never really know who or how many people will be touched with your love. Love them all, even the ones you don’t want to. Life is short, love abundantly. Thank you all in our support groups for my life, both in Enumclaw and in Alaska!"

Dave Treat
Us TOO Plateau Support Group, Enumclaw, WA

CLICK HERE to read Dave’s story.

Photo of Steve Gordon
"The strength of our group is its members and Us TOO International. When a newly diagnosed patient comes to our meeting, they see prostate cancer survivors and their significant others, living and enjoying their lives. Knowledge coupled with the right attitude is a powerful force for healing and being in charge of your life and medical options. A prostate cancer diagnosis is a wake-up call, not a death sentence."

Steve Gordon
Us TOO Support Group Leader - Sarasota, FL

Photo of Bill Stevens
"It’s very rewarding to hear men say, ‘I am so thankful for your Us TOO group and the information you provided. Now I can make an educated decision about my treatment!’ Conversely, it is very sad to hear, ‘I only wish I had known about your group before I decided on my treatment!"

Bill Stevens
Us TOO Support Group Leader - Fairfield County, OH

Photo of Lee Hillstrom
"I love the Us TOO Fox Cities support and education group I lead. The group is always looking for ways to improve their own situations and they are willing to help others in our group. But where I really feel I can help is meeting one-on-one with the men, with their partners, or also with family members. They want to learn more about what is in store for them and coming to a support group meeting is a huge step for many men. Being alone with them, I can listen to their questions and concerns for however long they want to talk. And that has been, at times, over two hours. They are so appreciative to talk with someone who has experienced the very options that they are considering, and who is open and honest about what it was like and what the side effects were then and are now. I have also been successful in getting them to laugh at some of the embarrassing stories I share with them about my treatments. I share that it is normal to be anxious about what is ahead, but I know they will be in great hands at our local cancer centers."

Lee Hillstrom
Us TOO Support Group Leader - Fox Cities, Neenah, WI

Photo of Robert Sherman
"Recently a very nice urologist asked me to review some YouTube videos pertaining to prostate cancer. I took note that there are over 623,000 YouTube videos on the subject of prostate cancer, many of them outdated, clearly wrong, and motivated by financial interests. I have not found a website as comprehensive and up-to-date as www.ustoo.org for current and vital information on prostate cancer. The Us TOO support groups around the country offer men and their loved ones valuable resources for learning about treatment options that are sometimes varied, confusing, and many times not necessary. Please support Us TOO so they may continue helping men diagnosed with prostate cancer."

Robert Sherman
Us TOO Support Group Leader - Fox Cities, Neenah, WI

Photo of Johnny Payne
"Being a Support Group Leader, I have found that Us TOO has been a ‘life line’ for me as a survivor and to the many men whose lives we have touched over the years. I hear it time and time again, in testimony after testimony from the men and from their families. I truly believe that the support group experience is something special. The relationships and acquaintances that are formed within our support groups indeed make a difference. The support group experience is like no other that you will ever encounter. It creates an extended brotherhood that goes beyond your family. It also creates a very special affiliation that will accompany you along your journey. The experience begins with the initial diagnosis and continues through the research and decision making process, through treatment, post treatment and virtually the rest of your life as a survivor. Within the support groups, you will meet individuals who have experienced the same concerns that you are facing. To know that you are not alone, and to know that there is someone who cares is uplifting at a time when you need it most. The support group experience does not need to be temporary. For those of us who choose to stay involved, this will carry us the rest of our lives. And finally the most rewarding part is that we have an opportunity to give back. We can be there for others just as others were there for us, when we were in need."

Johnny Payne
Us TOO Support Group Leader – Greenville, SC

Photo of Lori and Mike O’Connor
"The day we received my husband's prostate cancer diagnosis was undoubtedly the most profound life-changing event we have ever experienced. We took the time we needed to digest the news and quickly decided we were going to move forward through this battle giving it everything we had!

Through Us TOO International we found strength and hope! We were able to meet other PCa warriors and share stories, emotions, and experiences. These men and their families inspired us in a way that is difficult to put into words. Us TOO provided us with a safe landing place. It's a brotherhood/family of people that understand exactly what we are going through without our ever needing to explain. "

Lori and Mike O’Connor
Chicago, IL

Photo of Joe Cavalli from Hackensack, NJ
"I go back to when I was first diagnosed seventeen years ago and turned to the Internet for help. Due to ALL the good, and bad, information on the web, I got so totally confused. Then I found the Us TOO site and it was like finding a beacon of help in a sea of misinformation. Because of this, I sought out the local chapter of Us TOO and immediately got involved."

Joe Cavalli
Us TOO Support Group Leader – Hackensack, NJ

Photo of Ted Hinderman
"I have been involved with Us TOO for over ten years. When a chapter member acknowledges publicly in one of our meetings, ‘Ted, you saved my life,’ I don't know a higher compliment one could receive. As I, and my chapter co-leader Chuck Voinovich, have always said, we are here to Support, Advocate, and Educate. We try to do that every month when we meet. The reward is in knowing we are helping the newly diagnosed sift through the maze of information and choices facing them to make the difficult decision on how to proceed. I was in their shoes 15 years ago. Us TOO is a great organization to be a part of."

Ted Hinderman
Us TOO Support Group Leader - Northeast Valley, Phoenix, AZ

Photo of Marty Chakoian
"When my prostate cancer unexpectedly recurred, I felt afraid and confused. But with the resources from Us TOO International, and the caring support of other men in our local Us TOO group, I know that I am not alone. Now I face every day with new hope for a cure and new opportunities to receive and offer information, compassion, and friendship."

Marty Chakoian
Us TOO Support Group Leader – Seattle, WA

Photo of Dr. Tom Waters
I was introduced to Us TOO while working as an American High School Administrator in Germany. This was AFTER I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and treated by having radical prostatectomy surgery in 2002. The District Superintendent, Archie Bates, in Germany was working with an Us TOO member in Arizona, Willie Cotton, and asked me to call Willie. That call and that connection to Us TOO truly changed my life.

Willie explained to me how to establish and set up a prostate cancer support group for those wanting and needing information about this dreadful disease. So, the first Us TOO group in Germany was established at Ramstein American High School on Ramstein Air Base near Kaiserslautern, Germany. Our group began with approximately 20 male and female teachers and administrators from four area schools (high, middle, intermediate, and elementary).

When I returned to the United States in 2008, I looked for a prostate cancer support group and met Jim Gregory in Pahrump, Nevada. We were both retired military and that formed the foundation for our friendship. Jim had served in the Navy and I was in the Air Force. At that time Jim was a 15+ year prostate cancer survivor. I learned a lot from Jim and worked with him until he passed away. As a way of saying thanks, we re-named our Pahrump Chapter the Jim Gregory Chapter.

Dr. Tom Waters
Us TOO Support Group Leader – Pahrump, NV

Photo of Beverly Nicholson
"Facilitating the Us TOO UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center/Dignity Health Cancer Institute Prostate Cancer Support Group in Sacramento for the past twenty-five years is the highlight of my oncology nursing career. It gives me great joy and satisfaction to know that our group has touched the lives of so many men and their families."

Beverly Nicholson
Us TOO Support Group Leader – UC Davis, Sacramento, CA

Photo of Norman R. Thoresen
"When I was first diagnosed with prostate cancer almost 18 years ago, I was overwhelmed with the wealth of information available about the disease. In some ways it was too much, with so many choices and options. A big help, though, was my friend and former neighbor, Ken Christensen, who at that time was a prostate cancer survivor for over 6 years. Ken invited me to a local Us TOO support group where I met many more survivors and heard about their stories as well. Since then, after successful surgery, I have become active in several of the support groups in the Milwaukee metro area. Each group has a unique character, yet they all help to support each other in their battle to overcome this cancer. Over the years I have been fortunate to have been involved as a consumer reviewer as part of the Congressional Designated Medical Research Program. This enabled me to meet and work with many dedicated MDs, PhDs and other individuals all working to find better ways to diagnose and treat this cancer.

The Us TOO website is a great resource to be able to keep informed and to refer others. The monthly Hot SHEET and various postings to the Inspire.com online community are also great resources to help us keep up-to-date.

I now know more about prostate cancer than I ever thought about before I was diagnosed. I am grateful for the help Us TOO provides. I feel blessed to have become an active member of the prostate cancer survivor groups. "

Norman R. Thoresen
Us TOO Advocate – Milwaukee, WI

Photo of Richard Vetter
"My first experience with a support group came shortly after my prostatectomy when I attended the Mayo Clinic Chapter of Us TOO. Since then I have come to appreciate the opportunity to hear other men share their stories, as well as the information published by Us TOO on their website and in their literature, including the monthly Hot SHEET newsletter. Us TOO provides tremendous support to its chapter support groups around the nation, provides survivors with encouragement and knowledge, and makes a significant difference in the lives of prostate cancer survivors and their families. "

Richard Vetter
Us TOO Support Group Leader - Rochester, MN

Photo of Duane C. Kent
"I was initially diagnosed with prostate cancer in September of 2002, age 62. Like almost every man when initially told he has cancer, I was shocked, bordering on denial and immobility. How could this be? There was no family history of cancer in my family; I felt good, was very active, and had no symptoms!

My urologist told me about the local Us TOO survivor support group. My wife and I attended the next meeting. There were about 50 men and their wives who gave us an immediate warm welcome, and what we learned in talking with several survivors and their wives was incredibly helpful! They gave us literature and links to other information and websites that saved us a lot of time and effort. They were wonderful, compassionate people!

What I learned later is that the resources that Us TOO provided probably saved my life. Even though I chose surgery, the cancer was already outside of the prostate gland. Through the ongoing information, the Hot SHEET newsletter, and other links, I was able to weave my way through 14 years of proactive treatment decisions that have kept my cancer at bay and my quality of life high on the chart.

In late 2003, I took on the role of Support Group Leader. For those who find our group, it is beyond words - the profound, far-reaching, positive effects that we see in those men and their spouses. They come to the first meeting with fear, confusion, and looking for someone who can give them hope. I can truthfully say that over the years, for the hundreds with whom we have rubbed shoulders, to one degree or another, every single one left with new knowledge, strong confidence, renewed hope, and a defined path on which to proceed.

It has been my honor to be associated with such a compassionate, giving organization! "

Duane C. Kent
Us TOO Support Group Leader - Mobile, AL

CLICK HERE to donate to our Holiday Hope Campaign to provide the prostate cancer community with support, education, and advocacy at no charge.