Art Bosch was diagnosed with prostate
cancer in 2009. Later that year, after his surgery, he discovered a new program
called the MAN VAN. The MAN VAN is a
mobile PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood testing program that helps in the
detection of prostate cancer, so Art felt a connection to the program
instantly. For the past 10 years, Art has been volunteering with the program,
as it has grown from one van to two, and as it has expanded from urban cities to
include rural areas as well. Art has helped with driving the MAN VAN, hosting
events, and participating in other activities that help the MAN VAN program
continue to serve Calgary and surrounding regions.
When asked what has motivated him to continue volunteering for so long, he says,
“Knowing that the work I am doing is rewarding and will help someone. Even if
the PSA test helps with the early detection of prostate cancer for one person,
that’s making a difference. That means that we have helped save one more life
with early detection.” He described the program as being unique in that it is
the first mobile PSA testing program in Alberta. Art credits early detection for
saving his life and wants to ensure that other men have the opportunity to be
tested too. “I remember being excited when we announced that we were adding a
second van in 2012 because it meant we could help even more people.”
“What makes the MAN VAN different is that
we come to you. We make the testing
services accessible for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you’re in the city or in
a rural community – chances are, the MAN VAN will make a stop close to you. The
best part is that it’s free too!”
MAN VAN program manager, Ken Rabb, extends his appreciation for all volunteers
saying, “We are grateful for all of the volunteers that have helped and
continue to help the MAN VAN program grow. Volunteers are an integral part of
the MAN VAN team, and without them we wouldn’t be able to help provide the
services that we provide throughout Alberta.”
Today, Art continues to volunteer his time
at many clinics across Alberta in various different roles. On behalf of the MAN
VAN Team, thank you Art.
It was a lazy summer day during the Father’s Day weekend. John was enjoying the sunshine, chrome, and shiny paint at a local show and shine. Also in attendance was a seemingly out-of-place blue and white RV….the MAN VAN.
John walked by the van several times paying it little mind, all the while enjoying the hot rods and classic cars in the show. Gradually, he wandered back towards it and was approached by a friendly fellow in a blue golf shirt who asked “Welcome to the MAN VAN. Have you had your PSA checked?”
John knew that regular doctor visits should include PSA checks but was unsure if it had been done or what his level was. He decided to take the 10 minutes the testing required and find out.
A couple of days passed and John received a call from the Prostate Cancer Centre, “Your PSA levels are elevated and we suggest a follow up with your family doctor”.
Not thinking anything serious, John took their advice and contacted his doctor to schedule a follow up appointment. This visit revealed another elevated PSA reading and another test was suggested. The third test was a biopsy and this was the real eyeopener for John. This test changed his life.
“Think about the toughest words you’ll hear in your life. In my case it was — ‘You have prostate cancer.’ You owe it to yourself to get checked.”
After the shock of the diagnosis subsided, John was able to schedule an appointment with his urologist to discuss treatment options. Surgery made the best sense to John and he had this successfully performed at the Rockyview General Hospital. Three years after his initial visit to the MAN VAN, John is enjoying retirement and living his life to the fullest. He is volunteering at the Prostate Cancer Centre, sharing his journey with prostate cancer with other men going through the same struggle with the same diagnosis.
John’s story is not uncommon. One in seven men in Alberta will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime. It is very treatable if caught early. All men over 40 are encouraged to visit the MAN VAN or speak to their family doctor about PSA testing.
Doug Driediger was always a “good” Dad, now he is thankful he’s a “Grand” Dad
My name is Doug Driediger – thank you for this opportunity to share a little of my story.
My cancer journey began unexpectedly. After promising my wife that yes, as a birthday gift to her, I would see a doctor at least once a year. After my second visit, I saw a spike in my PSA test, despite my relatively young age. I was extremely fortunate to be the first patient of the new Rapid Access Clinic for Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre, and soon thereafter agreed to a surgery at what seemed like the tender age of 47.
That was 13 years ago. Since then, I have become a runner (encouraged by my doctor to strengthen those stomach muscles that had been parted to allow access to the surgery site). 10 marathons and dozens of other races later, the stomach muscles are doing fine. The birthday present that probably saved my life continues to give back to me. I am enjoying life as a new grandpa, and I am planning to see my granddaughter, 1-year-old Indigo, married some day – when she is 35, if I have my way – as I saw her beautiful mother married 8 years ago. The same girl who has run many of those races with me!
I am so grateful to Calgary’s Prostate Cancer Centre for all they have done for me . I am truly blessed to have been in their care.
This Father’s Day we can help men like Doug become “grand” Dads’. Your gift will ensure men can continue to have more time with their family. Together, let’s save more Dads, Donate today!
Staff and family at Obsidian Energy were invited to get tested at the MAN VAN in Calgary, Alta, May 17, 2018.
Raising awareness of the importance of early detection of prostate cancer is the goal, explains David French, President and Chief Executive Officer at Obsidian Energy Ltd. “If you are identified, people should not panic, they should recognize that early detection is the key to treatment and the success rate is very, very high.”
In its fifth year of sponsorship of the rural MAN VAN program, Obsidian Energy– formerly Penn West Petroleum Ltd.– is aware that if prostate cancer is detected early there is a 95 per cent survivability rate. By engaging its employees in a conversation about being proactive with their health, Obsidian hopes that more men will make their health and wellbeing a priority. “[Men] generally have a feeling that they are invincible and they do not realize that they are not invincible until it is almost too late and someone gives them bad news,” says French.
On May 16, 2018, Obsidian hosted a MAN VAN clinic at their downtown office in Calgary. The event welcomed staff and partners of staff to come get a PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test and have health measurements taken. In total, 30 men had a baseline PSA test on the MAN VAN and 38 received blood pressure, blood sugar and waist circumference measurements.
French explains that it is important to him that his staff knows that this resource is available to them, not only at their downtown office location, but also in the field. For several years, the rural MAN VAN has had the opportunity to visit rural communities where Obsidian’s field offices are located. “Originally when you look at an aging workforce, we enjoyed the fact that the MAN VAN, not only does work in Calgary, but works wherever we work as well,” explains French. By making this a fairly regular part of their work environment and allowing employees access to this resource, French hopes that men do not feel embarrassed to go get tested.
Organized by its employees, Obsidian’s social committee looks for three pillars that they invest in: health, social wellness, and environment. French explains that the MAN VAN program falls under both health and social wellness. As one of the founding partners of the rural MAN VAN, French says that by being involved in the program, it will hopefully create a dialogue and a lifestyle in which men are regularly taking care of their health. “Nowadays health and medicine is all about trying to look into the future and actively manage your health.” By encouraging men to not only react to illness, but to be proactive instead, he hopes that Obsidian can help guide its employees to live in a healthier way.