By: Maryam Mirza
On average, 73 Canadian men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year. For many that is just another statistic, but behind the numbers there lie men with enduring spirits that are fighting this disease every day.
Dave Donaldson, dean of the School of Business, is one of these men. He is also a member of the team, Mo Money, Mo ‘staches, which is dedicated to raising funds and awareness for prostate cancer at Algonquin College.
Donaldson was diagnosed with prostate cancer and has been cancer-free now for nine years.
“With the proper diagnosis and the right treatment you could have a normal life,” said Donaldson.
Nine years ago he had gone for a routine prostate check-up and was advised to take a few more tests. Once the results came in he was informed by his doctor that he had cancer. He was told he had 15 years to live if he didn’t have it surgically removed.
Donaldson left the office that day with the weight of the news heavy on his shoulders. The next few days, weeks, months were challenging. He had to come to terms with what he had been told.
“It took me four months from the time of my diagnosis to beginning my treatment,” said Donaldson. “I spent the months right after my diagnosis avoiding it. I needed something to blame, so I blamed my body for failing me.” After a couple of months he accepted his reality and knew until he did something about it, it wouldn’t go away.
“My family was my motivation,” said Donaldson. “I wanted to get better and live for my children, for my wife.”
During Donaldson’s surgery the doctors found that if he hadn’t agreed to surgically removing it, the cancer would have given him only seven years.
“If I hadn’t had the treatment, I wouldn’t have been here,” said Donaldson. “We shouldn’t shy away from the cancer. It’s there, it’s curable and the more people that know about it, the more people are willing to do the tests.”
This year Donaldson made the decision to join the Movember team and to also be more vocal about his experience to help others feel they are not alone in their struggle.
“One of the challenges when you’re younger is finding people who have gone through the same thing,” said Donaldson. “What I’ve tried to do when I hear of someone who is going through it is tell them if they need someone to talk to, I’m more than happy to help.”
Donaldson’s team has raised nearly $3,000 towards research and programs implemented to raise awareness for prostate cancer.
“The human spirit is an absolutely amazing thing,” said Donaldson. “No matter what kind of hardships or surprises you’re faced with, with the right attitude and the right people surrounding you, you can accomplish anything. The lesson learned is if you’re faced with a hardship, face it, deal with it…and move on.”