Prostate Cancer Survivor
Richard is used to taking on an immeasurable amount of responsibility. He’s a fourth generation owner and operator of the Columbia Restaurant Group, a husband to his childhood sweetheart, father of two and grandfather of five. After losing his grandfather to prostate cancer and witnessing a close family member’s diagnosis, he also became a member of a variety of boards at Moffitt, and has served on them for more than 20 years.
As if his plate weren’t full enough, Richard also coordinates a number of runs and events in support of cancer research. On the day of his annual Run for Life event, which benefits a new brachytherapy suite being built at Moffitt, Richard received his own prostate cancer diagnosis. Luckily, he’d been diligent about getting annual screenings. “The good news was my prostate cancer was in early stages because I did the screening,” he recalls. “And something that Moffitt does that so few people know about – including doctors – is HDR brachytherapy, high-dosage radiation. They target the specific areas with different doses of radiation. And you're in and out within four hours.”
Of course, everyone wants a quick procedure and short recovery time, so Richard made a point of demonstrating the ease of the procedure to set an example. “I was going to show men that cancer is not something to be afraid of. So, I was training for marathons. I had just finished the Boston Marathon five days before the procedure, and then just four days after it my doctor said I could resume normal activity. So I ran four miles. Then, two and a half weeks later, I had to go in for the second treatment, and four days later, I ran four miles again.”
Richard’s time as a Moffitt patient was short, but he’s had enough experience and interaction with the team during his many years on Moffitt’s boards to gain genuine insight to their passion. “When you see this passion these doctors have, that’s something you can’t find somewhere else. They all care. It makes you want to get involved. They have that courage to see the things they see, and to still take the time with each patient and be compassionate. And that gives the patients courage.” It’s clear that Richard has a similar level of compassion, because despite his hectic schedule, he has no intention of slowing down his involvement at Moffitt.