I would like to introduce myself my name is Linda Hoetger I am the spouse/caregiver and advocate for Prostate Cancer in Ohio as well as on Capitol Hill with ZERO The End of Prostate Cancer. My husband is a Retired Air Force Veteran with 20 years of service and employee at the Chalmers P. Wylie Veterans Administration Clinic in Columbus, Ohio. We are parents of four sons in their late 20’s and early 30’s. Two of our sons hast started their families we have a newborn Grandson and one on the way in April. My husband has a Grandson from a previous marriage. My husband is the first in his family diagnosed with prostate cancer, he has two other Brothers, and both of them have no prostate issues. I have a concern that my husband’s prostate cancer is Military related. Though never stationed in Vietnam; however, Agent Orange has been stored at some base he was stationed. He was also a Firefighter in the 70’s during a tour in England where there was a Tanker fire. The tanker was filled with barrels that were on fire and had to be extinguished my husband was one of the Airmen that put it out. He applied for an Agent Orange claim and denied due to No Boots on the Ground in Vietnam.
June 19, 2009 we heard the devastating news that my husband has an aggressive form of prostate cancer; we were both stunned, shocked and horrified. We had to learn a new foreign language PSA, Gleason, positive margins just to name a few. It is hard enough trying to deal with the diagnosis and finding even harder that when you say these two words Prostate Cancer, people run the other way. I know it is hard for the men to talk about their diagnosis with prostate cancer; it is not a Man’s disease. It is a Couple’s disease. For our families every month is Prostate Cancer Awareness month 24/7 365!
We will celebrate our 7th year after the diagnosis on June 19, 2016 and it has become my mission to raise awareness for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September. I am reaching out to every City, Village, and Township in Ohio asking for your support with a Proclamation or Resolution for Prostate Cancer Awareness month in September. This year there will be 180,890 men diagnosed with prostate cancer. Many will suffer in silence; as this disease robs the men from their feelings of Manhood. Sadly, 30,000 men will die from prostate cancer. Since my husband’s diagnosis I have met many families of prostate cancer, sadly some of them have lost their battle from this horrible disease. My heart breaks every time I hear the news and it makes me fight harder to raise awareness to let the families know that their loved ones are in our hearts. I hope that one day Prostate Cancer will be a disease that men will never have to hear those devastating word. “I am sorry you have prostate cancer!”
I contacted Governor Kasich's office in 2013 to inquire about a Resolution for September in Ohio. Sadly, there was not one, so I started the process to have one done. I am happy to say that as of September 1, 2014 in the state of Ohio Governor John R. Kasich signed the first Resolution for Prostate Cancer Awareness Month. It was then time for the Mayors and Council Members throughout Ohio and other states to get involved. There are at least one Family affected by Prostate Cancer in some way, Father, Brother, Husband, Son, Etc. Ohio has been my biggest supporter in writing Proclamations and Resolutions for Prostate Cancer Awareness.
I would like to challenge you with lighting a Landmark Blue for Prostate Cancer Awareness month. Last year there were Ponds, Fountains, and Flagpoles that were lighted Blue for the month. Take a picture and I will be happy to post it on my blog to show support for the Prostate Cancer Families who are battling this horrible disease.
I started blogging about prostate cancer on Petey the Prostate Crusader blog. He is our Mascot that I created in 2009 from a Walnut. When I created Petey, I never expected that everyone would also love him. He goes with me everywhere including to Capitol Hill.