Two fathers, one mission
WEST BLOOMFIELD — Two West Bloomfield fathers, Ed Viksne, 53, and Jack Faett, 57, have another reason to cherish June 16 this year.
After they both survived prostate cancer, they decided to participate in the Michigan Institute of Urology Men’s Health Foundation’s fifth annual Run for the Ribbon on Father’s Day. The event supports prostate cancer awareness, education, treatment and research in southeast Michigan.
“That is how we are going to celebrate Father’s Day and my birthday, and victory over prostate cancer,” Faett, whose birthday falls on June 17, told the Beacon recently.
The event will be held at 8 a.m. at the Detroit Zoo, 8450 W. 10 Mile Road in Royal Oak.
The race draws more than 1,600 runners and walkers annually, according to a press release.
Faett plans to participate in the run with his family for the first time.
“If this continues … I can see going forward, this would be a Father’s Day-birthday tradition.”
Prostate cancer, which is the most common type of non-skin cancer found in American men, affects one in six, and is the second leading cause of death for men in the U.S., according to the American Cancer Society. The ACS estimates that more than 238,000 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in the United States this year.
Although more than 29,000 men will reportedly die from the disease this year, about more than 2 million men are prostate cancer survivors.
Viksne has been a survivor for three years and has attended the run for the past three years.
“I never had been diagnosed with cancer before,” he said. “It was an all new experience. Being at the Detroit Zoo with other prostate cancer survivors, it is a supportive event, emotionally, spiritually.”
Faett, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer this year, said he is a survivor because of modern technology, preventative measures and a little something extra.
“To be quite honest, God and science is on our side today,” Faett said. “I would encourage all men middle age, or approaching middle age, to start having physical exams. Let’s face it, I got diagnosed in January, and I was cancer-free by Easter (this year).”
Despite the 30,000 annual prostate cancer deaths and 200,000 diagnoses, urologist and MIU Men’s Health Foundation board member Dr. Michael Lutz said men are horrible advocates for their own health. The MIU run encourages men to stand up for their wellness.
“We’re excited to see men and their significant others coming out to be advocates for their own health,” Lutz said of the race participants.
Viksne said the run is a “good family event,” and the years he attended the run have been his favorite Father’s Days yet.
“I couldn’t think of a better way to spend Father’s Day than to run with my family and come back home and have a barbecue,” he said.
Registrations made June 13 are $30 for adults and $20 for children. Race day registration is $35 for adults and $25 for children. Online registration at www.miurunfortheribbon.org is available until June 14; After June 14, participants must register on race day.
Prior to the run, on June 14, MIU Men’s Health Foundation will host the Run for the Ribbon Gala at 7 p.m. at Andiamo Warren, 7096 E. 14 Mile Road in Warren.
For more information, go to www.miumenshealthfoundation.org.
Staff Writer Robert Guttersohn contributed to this report.