When legendary New York Yankees manager Joe Torre was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999, there was an outpouring of sympathy and support from his fans, players and friends. But it was his wife Ali who was by his side through it all. “It really is a journey together, with your spouse,” says Ali, who was Joe’s biggest cheerleader throughout his illness and recovery.
“Once I accepted it, that Joe really was diagnosed; I thought ‘How are we going to work through this? What steps do we need to take?’” recalls Ali. “The first step I took was just to be supportive. He obviously was very upset and I just let him know that whatever he was going through I would be there for him.”
At the time, the Prostate Cancer Foundation didn’t have a website, so Ali turned to the library, Joe’s doctors and her father, who had faced his own battle with prostate cancer 12 years earlier.
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“It was a challenge, and it was very confusing to take all the information, digest it and understand it,” she says. That’s why the Torres actively support PCF today. Ali routinely turns to PCF.org for the latest information on prostate cancer research, treatments and nutrition. “Everything’s right there. You go through the website; it explains what the disease is, defines it and gives you a lot of clarity. I never had that clarity.”
Joe’s story is one of survival. He had surgery, recovered fairly quickly and went on to lead the Yankees to a third-consecutive World Series title that season.
However, Ali and Joe know that without a definitive cure, his cancer could return. That’s why the couple advocates for continuing prostate cancer research—for Joe, for others battling the disease and for future generations of men and their spouses.
“Current research is so valuable and so important because it’s a very difficult disease and we really need to find a cure for it,” says Ali. “It’s manageable, it’s treatable and you can survive it, but if you can prevent it from ever happening, that’s all the better.” With Joe’s cancer in remission for many years, Joe and Ali now live in Los Angeles where Joe is the former manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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