A Very Special Thank You To My Daughters Natalie and Heidi
As a father I made every effort to be a strong, independent role model and to always protect and support you. Consequently, when I was diagnosed with breast cancer I found it very difficult to relinquish that role and to accept the care and support I received from you. I now realize that I needed, and continue to need that support in order to effectively deal with this disease. Thank you. I truly apologize for making it so difficult for you to be my rock of support.
A Very Heartfelt Thank You To Barbara, Ann Marie and Joanne
Without your support and encouragement, I could never have started or fulfilled my mission to increase male breast cancer (MBC) awareness. I hope to encourage more men who have been diagnosed with this disease to stand up and speak publicly about their experience. Together, we can make a difference and help other men and their support team, cope with Male Breast Cancer.
Throughout our life journey, we cross paths with people who have dramatically impacted our lives and who have positively influenced who we have become.
After being diagnosed with MBC, I received support from my medical team, my daughters, Ann Marie Comeau and my friends, that was instrumental in helping me get through the difficult times following surgery. As a man, I found it extremely difficult to accept all of this support and only long after surgery, did I realize how grateful I was and how much I needed that support to fully recover mentally and physically.
I am sure that I would not be where I am today if it were not for my dearest and best friend, Barbara Francis from Fairfield, Ohio. Although Barbara passed away in July 2007, after a lengthy battle with ovarian cancer, it was the time that I spent with her after my surgery until her passing that was responsible for creating the caring, supportive individual that I am today.
Barbara truly was an amazing woman who whole heartedly believed that individuals can have a positive impact on others during their lifetime. She was continuously giving back to others. At the age of 54, after the passing of her husband, Barbara joined the Peace Corps and served in Africa where she became seriously ill and had to be air-lifted back to theUnited States where she eventually recovered. Barbara decided then, to become involved with Habitat for Humanity. Aside from being part of the local executives and participating in many local builds, Barbara also volunteered on builds in Nepal, Hawaii and the Jimmy Carter build in Valdosta, Georgia.
During the months post surgery, Barbara helped me realize that I was now in a position to help other men that have been diagnosed with MBC. Because this disease is so rare, and due to the fact that in 2005, there was limited, published information on MBC, she encouraged me to begin speaking publicly about this disease, as a way to increase awareness.
Following one of my speeches at a local function in Tampa in 2007, I was contacted by Joanne Ranney and asked to participate in the Seek and Speak Your Story program offered at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa Florida. This course is designed to help cancer survivors’ in the Tampa area, develop their story and find comfort in discussing their personal experience with cancer. During this course, Joanne and the other cancer survivors, helped me find the courage and the strength to open up and discuss male breast cancer. For this, I am truly thankful.