11/2/2012 8:32:00 AM Paulden man getting word out about cancer effort Saturday to raise money, collect sports balls
Corey Christensen of Paulden will park this Paulden Community School bus Saturday at Walmart in hopes of collecting footballs, basketballs, kick balls and soccer balls for local schools and the YMCA and stimulating awareness of testicular cancer.
By Karen Despain Courtesy of Prescott Daily Courier
Paulden resident Corey Christensen has a message he wants men to hear.
He has had two bouts with testicular cancer, and he urges self-exams and emphasizes, "Don't ignore any pain in the groin area. It could be nothing or it could be your life."
In his mission to get the word out, Christensen has set up a two-faceted benefit for Saturday. He will be collecting basketballs, footballs, kick balls and soccer balls for donation to local schools and the YMCA. At the same time, he will have a drawing for a Ruger 10/22 take-down rifle. People can buy tickets, $3 each or four for $10, when they bring their sports balls to the Paulden Community School bus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. he will park at the Walmart on Highway 69. He plans more events in coming weeks. He prefers new footballs, basketballs, soccer balls and kick balls and hopes to fill up the bus with donations.
Drawing proceeds will go to the national nonprofit Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation, based in Colorado, directed by founder Kim Jones.
Jones' own son, Jordan, suffered testicular cancer that was first considered inoperable two weeks before his 14th birthday five years ago, she said in a telephone interview.
The first symptom his mother noticed was a large lump on the side of his neck that had suddenly appeared. But, Jordan had already noticed a lump on one of his testicles, thought it was nothing and didn't tell his parents.
In the beginning of his illness, doctors removed the diseased testicle but found the cancer had spread to other parts of his body. After chemotherapy, one specialist determined his condition was inoperable. Yet, the Jones family refused to give up. They sought another opinion, and new doctors they consulted gave them hope. Seven surgeries and 10 months of chemotherapy five years ago gave Jordan his life back.
On Oct. 26 of this year, Jordan and his family celebrated his fifth year of survival.
Jordan is "healthy now. We didn't take 'no' for an answer," his mother said.
The goal of the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation (TCAF) is to promote awareness of the disease, to educate the public about it and help patients who suffer from it.
Jones and Christensen agree that, compared to breast cancer, testicular cancer "is hardly talked about and goes undetected" too often.
"When it's diagnosed, it's too late," Jones said.
Christensen, 39, was on the TCAF board until his time would not allow him to serve any longer. He now drives a school bus for Paulden Community School.
He was first diagnosed with testicular cancer when he was 30 years old.
"Normally, it's not painful," he said of the disease. But on a Monday, he was in extreme pain and went to the emergency room. From there, he was sent to a urologist, who put him on antibiotics. By Wednesday of that week, he could hardly walk, he said, and he was hospitalized and had surgery that Friday. Surgeons removed his left testicle and found that it contained all four types of testicular cancer, he said. He then had three weeks of daily radiation.
His second bout occurred in 2009. He was living in Washington state at the time, when he had pain on his right side, he said. The first doctor couldn't find anything wrong and sent him home, telling him "testicular cancer isn't painful."
Knowing his personal history, Christensen called a urologist at the University of Washington Medical Center and was able to see him a week later.
"He tended to go along with the other doctor," Christensen said, but agreed to do surgery if Christensen were "willing to live with the consequences": no more children, a lifetime of hormone medication and the emotional stigma that comes with losing his other testicle.
After Christensen's second surgery, the doctor called him with results of the pathology on the testicle he had removed and told him, "You were right."
He then endured "high potent" chemotherapy, and if he remains in remission for two more years, he will be considered cured. When he reached the five-year threshold after his first diagnosis, he learned of the second bout nine months later.
"A man dies from testicular cancer every day in the United States," he said. "A new diagnosis is made every four hours. More men die between the ages of 18 and 40 than women from breast cancer in the same age group."
With testicular cancer, "age doesn't matter," Christensen said.
For complete information about the Testicular Cancer Awareness Foundation and its services or to make donations, visit www.TCAFinfo.org.
Jones said Christensen is "a great advocate for our foundation. He's taking it to the next level by supporting the school and our organization and what it does."