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Faces of Prostate Cancer

Emerson Knowles

Thankful to be alive, prostate cancer survivor Emerson Knowles has a fresh perspective on life. He is committed to helping save more men and found Athletes for a Cure the perfect way to raise funds and awareness. Diagnosed with prostate cancer on June 4, 2004, Knowles underwent a radical prostectomy on June 25, 2004 for the complete removal of his prostate. The surgery left him with temporary incontinence and fatigue.  Side effects he was very willing to accept; he had seen the fate of his father.

“My dad was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1979 and died five-years later,” recalls Emerson. “As scary as my cancer was, my thoughts were: I have cancer - now I need to find a way to beat it. Once I beat it, my thoughts went to needing to keep myself healthy, active and support a cause that would save more men from prostate cancer.”

A year after surgery, Emerson put his new perspective into action. His wife Peggy, who has faced a great deal of medical adversities after suffering a major stroke, had learned to read, write and walk against horrible odds. Emerson told himself “I am a butthead if I don’t get healthy and take advantage of the rest of my life.” He became an Athlete for a Cure and started his first fundraising drive on the 25th anniversary of his father’s death.

“Athletes for a Cure is a wonderful outlet to demonstrate life, strength and survival,” said Emerson. “When you are participating in a program, you have to maintain a healthy lifestyle and remain committed to the cause.”

With more than $30,000 raised to date, Emerson continues to make strides towards his first goal of $50,000 by making personal calls as well as sending emails to friends, family and business contacts before major events.

Last year he fundraised at three major events including the Deer Creek Duathalon in Ohio, 67 mile El Tour de Tucson and the Tucson, Arizona Half Marathon. This year, he plans to participate in new fundraising events including the Mt. Lemmon half marathon and two Ultra Marathons in the spring of 2011 as a new goal as he turns 55.

“Some mornings I can’t believe I’m as active as I am.  Five miles into a run I think; this feels pretty damn good. It’s just up to you to actually do it, because the only thing that holds me back is me,” shared Emerson.

Emerson continues to compete and race as an Athlete for a Cure member to raise funds and awareness. He wants his male friends to pay attention and get checked for the disease – and he wants his female friends to encourage the men in their lives to get checked. As Emerson freely admits, if his old friend Eric had not harassed him into getting checked, he would probably be dead.

“I want my grandchildren to know their grandfather, because my daughters never had the opportunity. I race for my children, grandchildren and those many families I’ve never met - so they will know their grandfathers too.” Learn more about Emerson’s story and fundraising efforts.

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