Rick Ducharme: Living today with an eye on tomorrow

“I’m a lucky man,” reflected Rick Ducharme, 68, on a life he has both cherished and feels confident is far from over.

Having been raised as the youngest of six on a farm in southern Ontario, Rick lost his father to cancer at the age of three, forcing him and his grief-stricken siblings to take on much greater responsibility than most of the other kids their age. These responsibilities included supporting one another, their beloved mother, and the successful operation of the family farm.

Like many children who, due to unfortunate circumstances, have been left with little choice but to quickly mature beyond their years, Ducharme’s early introduction to adversity foretold of a promising future. After meeting the love of his life with whom he’s now been happily married for 44 years, Ducharme went on to become a dedicated father of four, an outspoken transit executive of over a decade, and a doting grandfather of five.

But, as Rick knows all too well, nothing in life, especially one’s health, is ever guaranteed. Like his father before them, Rick also lost two of his brothers far too young to cancer. Understanding the profound sense of loss that comes with losing a loved one before their time, Rick made the conscious decision early on to be diligent about his health in order to boost his chances of living as far into old age as possible.

And it’s a good thing he did. After a PSA test in 2013 revealed a concerning uptick, his doctor decided to refer him to an urologist to be on the safe side and monitor the situation more closely. Approximately a year later, after having undergone a biopsy, Ducharme, with his wife and best friend by his side, received a diagnosis of prostate cancer. Never having experienced so much as a single symptom, Ducharme, after careful consideration and discussion with his doctor, opted for and underwent brachytherapy followed by 15 external beam radiations to treat the disease.  

Today, as he and his family continue to adjust to what they euphemistically refer to as their ‘new normal’, Rick remains cautiously optimistic that his treatment was successful. Although he misses coffee and doesn’t look forward to the regular urologist visits, he’s happy to report that his PSA levels are way down. This means his chances of getting to spend more time with loved ones are way up, and, for Rick, that’s the most important thing in the world.

Grateful for the support he’s received along the way from family, friends, fellow prostate cancer survivors, and Prostate Cancer Canada’s (PCC) patient-focused resources and services, Rick felt it was incumbent upon himself to pay it forward. As such, he approached PCC and volunteered to sit on one of their research selection panels. Comprised of a number of top prostate cancer experts as well as two community representatives whose lives have been directly affected by prostate cancer, these panels review scientific research proposals to determine which are the most likely to improve outcomes for men with prostate cancer and, therefore, deserving of funding.

In addition to fulfilling his wish to give back, this experience opened Rick’s eyes to the incredibly promising prostate cancer research taking place right here in Canada. It also filled him with hope for a brighter future when his children, grandchildren, and their kids to follow will have access to better and better care, opening the door to longer, healthier and happier lives.

The road to get there, Rick learned, will require significant investments in the way of time, energy and funding. To that end, he has become a vocal champion of the importance of fundraising. He now makes it a point to spread the word, urging everyone he knows to band together to equip the brightest minds our country has to offer with the resources they need to make next great breakthroughs happen. “With so many men being diagnosed with prostate cancer,” Rick reasons, “chances are good that each of us is or will be helping someone dear to us.” Besides, according to Rick Ducharme, “if you can help just one man and his family, it’ll have been worth it.”
Posted: 2017-12-15 12:20:24 PM
Filed under: cancer, health, men's, prostate, PSA, survivor, test


Tags

Local Hero Award A Survivorship Action Partnership Active adt advanced Alex Baumann Annual Moose & Goose Club Black Tie Dinner antigen ASAP athlete awareness Beam biopsies biopsy Bismar blood BOSSS Tournament Boutros Brachytherapy Bristow british Buttyan Calgary Canada Cancer caregiver catheter CFL Chemotherapy cherry cnic columbia Conor Malone Cruisin’ For A Cure Canada Dad dads Dakar Rally day deprivation detection diagnosis digital dna do doctor don donate DRE early Early detection ED Edmonton Education erection eric Eskimos exam experience External family Father and Sons Xcanada Father’s Day Walk/Run FDiagnosis Football for Fred Chartrand funding fundraising genetics Golf Town Charity Classic health High-Intensity history hockey Hope Hormone international it Jack Layton Len Levesque lifelabs lottery loved mccormack Media men's moustache Movember MRI Murray Hill national navigator of Olivia Chow one ones partership Paul PCC PCC Atlantic PCCN pee Pilot Grant Program Plaid post-surgery pre-surgery prosate cancer Prostate prostate cancer Prostate Cancer Awareness Day Prostate Cancer Canada Prostate Cancer Canada Network Prostate Cancer Canada Network Conference prostatecancer Prostatectomy Protect the 5 Hole PSA PSA blood test PSA levels PSA test PSA value psatest Radiation Radical radioligand raffle Ralph Randy Remington Randy Remington Charity Golf Classic recovery rectal remember Research researcher Resources Rhodes Ride Rising risk road Rob robyn Rocco Rossi rock Rocktheroadraffle run Scotiabank StickIt Scotiabank Stick-It screened screening sexuality Sled specific Star step Steve Jones story Stuart Edmonds support surgery Surveillance survivor survivors survivorship programs T2:ERG Tarek test testing the The Breast Friends The Randy Remington Golf Classic Therapy TIEd Together TIEd Together photo exhibit Treatment tumours up urine urine test urologist volunteer volunteering Volunteerism volunteers Wake Up Call Breakfast walk week winner World

Archive

October 2019(2)
September 2019(7)
August 2019(6)
July 2019(5)
Juin 2019(0)
May 2019(5)
April 2019(4)
Mars 2019(5)
February 2019(6)
January 2019(4)
December 2018(1)
November 2018(1)
October 2018(3)
Septembre 2018(4)
August 2018(0)
July 2018(2)
June 2018(1)
April 2018(2)
February 2018(2)
December 2017(2)
October 2017(1)
April 2017(2)
February 2017(1)
December 2016(2)
July 2016(2)
May 2016(1)
March 2016(1)
December 2015(1)
November 2015(1)
September 2015(1)
July 2015(1)
June 2015(1)
April 2015(2)
March 2015(2)
February 2015(2)
January 2015(2)
December 2014(4)
November 2014(2)
August 2014(1)
July 2014(2)
May 2014(2)
April 2014(1)
December 2013(2)
November 2013(3)
October 2013(1)
September 2013(6)
August 2013(2)
September 2012(4)
August 2012(1)
June 2012(1)
April 2012(1)
March 2012(3)
February 2012(2)
January 2012(1)
October 2011(1)
June 2011(2)
January 2011(1)
November 2010(6)
October 2010(3)
September 2010(3)
August 2010(4)
July 2010(2)
February 2010(3)
January 2010(1)