Faces of Prostate Cancer
17-year-old Matt Pettit has taken the stance that it’s better to give than receive after his grandfather died of prostate cancer before Matt was born. Matt's grandfather died of prostate cancer before he was born. As an enterprising high school senior, he has helped support prostate cancer research in honor of the grandfather he never had the opportunity to know.
Matt's experience led him to want to create higher levels of awareness for the disease. In an effort to do this, and as part of his senior project, he designed reusable grocery bags to sell with proceeds going to the Prostate Cancer Foundation.
“I got the idea of the bags from my mom who uses similar bags when she shops,” recalls Matt. “In designing the bags, I decided to use the brown fabric with a blue ribbon because I felt they complemented each other well. I also felt the color combination would be something both women and men would feel comfortable using.”
In addition to his grandfather’s death, Matt initially came into contact with prostate cancer patients after working at his father’s urologic medical practice. He then volunteered at a free local prostate cancer clinic during the summer.
Matt noticed the high number of men being seen by doctors for prostate cancer screening but didn’t see a lot of public education about the disease. “You see a lot of fundraisers and information about breast cancer,” said Matt. “There are pink ribbons everywhere, which I think is great but what about prostate cancer? It’s so common in men, yet public awareness isn’t as prominent.”
Matt organized sales of the bags outside grocery stores within his local community of Bellingham, WA and contacted various neighborhood retailers to also sell bags.
Matt raised $1,000 for prostate cancer research - selling more than 200 of his created bags.
“I’m glad I was able to contribute to the fight against prostate cancer,” commented Matt. “It’s not just about the money we raised; it's also about making people a little more comfortable discussing the disease. It seemed that the bags became cool to use and I’m happy about that.”
Matt's enthusiastic efforts may inspire others to promote prostate cancer awareness, as well as brighten the spirits of grandsons and grandfathers who are blessed to spend this holiday season together.
Matt's bags are now available in the PCF Store.
Do you have a story that you would like to share? Tell us.