After learning about Movember, Tom Weiland and his wife, Jan, started a Movember movement among their friends and family. They challenged their acquaintances to get involved, grow mustaches and strike up conversations about prostate cancer.
At the end of the month, they hosted a cocktail party at their home in Darien, Illinois. "We wanted to make it fun," Weiland said. At the party, they awarded prizes for the best mustache, worst mustache and best story about sharing information about prostate cancer.
The Weilands were pleased that so many people became fully engaged with the fundraiser. "They understood it was more than just growing a mustache," Weiland said. Jan said, "It was something that affected us and our family, and it could affect them and their family. I was amazed at the response."
Supporting Dr. Catalona's research
The Weilands felt it was important to invite their friends to raise donations for Dr. Catalona's research because he is local. Weiland said, "Dr. Catalona is considered a significant research individual in prostate cancer in Illinois, and since we have experience with him we wanted to aim the fundraiser specifically at his research." The event raised more than $1,700 for Dr. Catalona's research.
The shock of cancer
Weiland was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year. He was 57 years old and had no family history of prostate cancer or prostate issues. He said, "It's a shock when you're told you've got cancer." After meeting with a number of urologists, Weiland elected to have surgery with Dr. Catalona in May 2014. Both he and Jan felt that Dr. Catalona's traditional approach to surgery, rather than robotic surgery or active surveillance, was the best choice for Weiland. Thankfully, the treatment was successful.
Sharing about prostate cancer
The Movember fundraiser gave Weiland an opportunity to encourage men to get tested for prostate cancer. He gave a talk at his local Lions Club meeting about prostate cancer. Almost half the men in the audience had been diagnosed with enlarged prostate or prostate cancer. "It blew me away," he said. "But it was to point out to the rest of the group: don't ignore this. These are the lucky ones that were diagnosed and are getting treatment for this."
Jan felt that the cocktail party was an important way for their friends and family to understand Weiland's experience. "They all came out, got to see Tom healthy and happy and talk about his experience. I think it made them feel better, and it was something they could do. It wasn't awkward because it was brought out in the open," she said.
The Weilands hope to host another Movember fundraiser next year. The URF extends its gratitude to Tom and Jan Weiland and all those who participated in the Movember fundraiser.