Survivor Mentors Other Men with Prostate Cancer

Written By:Stacy Simon

"I just smoked for a very long time and then I had an epiphany. I was a 3-pack-a-day man. When I spoke to people, they said, 'I don't know what you look like without a cigarette in your face.'"

Frank Ready
Frank Ready - Stories of Hope

Frank Ready, a 15-year survivor of prostate cancer, says the more he can meet and help others, the better he feels. Ready volunteers with the American Cancer Society to mentor other men who are newly diagnosed with prostate cancer. He has spoken with such men at health fairs, corporate meetings, and Relay For Life events, the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising walks.

Ready’s own cancer story began in 1998 at age 58 when his blood pressure suddenly spiked. To check things out, he went to his doctor for a physical, which included a digital rectal exam. The doctor felt a mass and referred Ready to a urologist. After another exam, a second opinion, and tests that confirmed he had cancer, Ready opted for radiation and hormone therapy. Through it all he continued to work and exercise.

Though Ready was always athletic, he’d really begun taking charge of his health at age 35, when he quit smoking cold turkey and began running.

“I just smoked for a very long time and then I had an epiphany,” said Ready. Ready’s father, mother, and 2 of his brothers were all lifelong smokers and died young. “I was a 3-pack-a-day man,” said Ready. “When I spoke to people, they said, ‘I don’t know what you look like without a cigarette in your face.’” Ready said he came to the realization that when you don’t take care of yourself, everything ends tragically.

To fill the void created by quitting, Ready started running. At first he could run for only 150 yards before being overtaken by a coughing fit. Then he worked his way up to a mile, then 3 miles, then 10k races, then half-marathons, and then marathons.

These days, Ready considers his prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment just “a bump in the road” and has switched from running to cycling after a back problem. He cycles 20 miles a day. And he plans to continue his work talking with men who have questions about prostate cancer. As always, Ready is likely to be found at a corporate health fair behind a sign that says, “Talk to a Cancer Survivor,” giving out brochures, and answering questions.

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