Jim Barnum is described as the last person you would expect to get prostate cancer. He was healthy, active, and wasnt sick a day in his life, according to his wife Cathie. In fact, he was so fit and passed his physical exams with such high marks that doctors said he didnt even need a Prostate Specific Antigen test, which helps detect prostate cancers in their early states.
All that changed in October when he was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of prostate cancer a person can get. It was growing fast, and had even spread into his hip.
"The Cancer Centre said to go home and get your affairs in order, but we didnt think that was a good way to leave it," said Cathie Barnum.
Jim fought the cancer with everything he had, and against all odds hes back on his skis and feeling healthy again. His PSA tests are also back in the safe level, after peaking what would ordinarily be a lethal concentration.
He will have to undergo various treatments for the rest of his life to keep the cancer in check, but considers that a better option than amputation.
Nos the Barnums want to get Jims message out to other men, and thats to get tested.
"I think mens prostate cancer is where womens breast cancer was 20 years ago," said Cathie. "Right now you talk to men about it and their eyes glaze over, but according to the latest statistics about 44 per cent of men are getting prostate cancer these days.
"My son is 32 and he has a friend with prostate cancer but I think people have this picture of old guys hobbling around. If it can happen to Jim it can really happen to anybody, and there are some really easy things you can do to detect it early."
To celebrate Jims recovery and raise awareness, the Barnum family is hosting a Mens Cancer Fundraiser and Awareness Day on Saturday, Feb. 25.
The day gets underway at 11 a.m. at the light board on Whistler Mountain, before heading down to Dustys in a group ski for lunch. At Dustys there will be a B.C. Cancer Foundation Tent where people can make donations, and all contributors will be eligible to win paintings and prints donated by Jim Barnum, a local artist. The Whistler Choir will sing at 12:30 p.m. as well, and after lunch participants will be invited to continue skiing in the afternoon.