What I Want for My Birthday

One of the many things I’ve learned since I got breast cancer is that it is not only a women’s disease. Men get breast cancer, too. Men die from breast cancer, too. Everyone who knows me or who reads this blog knows that I am very concerned about the scant resources allotted to research into the causes of metastatic breast cancer and its treatment. Resources allotted to male breast cancer are even less.

Most men have no idea that they can get breast cancer. Imagine what it must feel like for them to be diagnosed with it. Actually, you don’t need to imagine it. You can read the guest post  Bill Becker was kind enough to write for me last year.

My friend Bob De Vito is in remission from breast cancer and he is now preparing for reconstructive surgery. My friend Bill Becker has metastatic breast cancer. Bill and Bob are very active in campaigning for awareness of male breast cancer. They have been photographed for the SCAR project and have even been on television to discuss it.

Through them, I made another friend, the actor-filmmaker Nick Sadler. Nick is working on a project called Times Like These, a film about male breast cancer from a very personal point of view. I’ll let Nick take the floor:

TIMES LIKE THESE is a feature length documentary film that intimately follows the inspiring lives of men from very different worlds who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

We examine the powerful brotherhood these men form and the overwhelming obstacles they and their families face in getting treatment and finding support.

Male Breast Cancer is a rare but deadly form of the disease that kills 25% of the men who are diagnosed.

The film follows the lives of these men and their loved ones through their diagnosis, treatments, and everyday lives. We witness the new relationships they form with their doctors and support groups and the strains that are placed on their marriages, families, work, and friendships.

As Bob recovers, Bill’s cancer returns. He is now diagnosed 4 A Metastatic.

This film aspires to reveal the deeper truths of how we understand life when we are faced with death.

How we reach out to others when we are struggling. How we react when we ourselves are asked rise to the occasion when we are needed.

Our hope is that we can make a difference by helping people understand the human story behind this rare and deadly disease.

In doing so, we will create more than awareness – we will inspire action. More funding for research, treatment, and support.

Today is my birthday; I’m 59 years old and counting. I am not going to get all maudlin (not at this particular moment, at any rate) other than to say that birthdays have become very special to me. I would like to make this one special in a very particular way.

First of all, please go to the  Times Like These page and watch the trailer, read about the project, see David Jay’s SCAR Project photos of Bill and Bob, read the bios of the filmmakers Nick Sadler and David C. Didato.

Then, if you can, please make a donation to the project, so that filming and post-production can be completed in a timely fashion and in the best possible manner. Donations are 501(c)(3) tax deductible for people in the USA.

If you cannot donate money, you can still help. Please tell your friends and family about male breast cancer. Share this post and the Times Like These page on your social media accounts. Encourage the men you know to check themselves regularly.

If I can help raise some money for the film and increase awareness of male breast cancer, this will be a wonderful birthday and I’ll carry it with me for the rest of my life.

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  1. Thank you C! I am beyond words right now. Thank you for helping to get my husband Bill and friend Bobs story out there and made. Yom Huledit Sameach!!! Xoxo Lisa

  2. This was awesome. Thank you so much for writing it. I think it is important for awareness of all forms of Cancer and appreciate all those that spread the word of what Horrible Illnesses these are. And btw, Happy Birthday !

  3. KT so great of you to get the word out about Male Breast Cancer, the very important movie Times Like These, The Scar Project and where we can donate (done) as well as raise awareness. Happy Birthday…Yom Huledit Sameach!

  4. Happy Birthday and I’m headed over to the site you mentioned. You’re right, I hadn’t thought about Breast Cancer and men. I didn’t know it was so under researched.

    • Thank you so much, Mae. Most of us don’t think about male breast cancer. Now it’s your turn to spread the word!

  5. People still don’t associate Breast Cancer with men, believing for the most part that it’s a “woman’s disease”. Thanks for calling attention to this; what an amazing gift YOU gave the world on your own birthday. Kudos to you, and Happy, Happy Birthday, Claire!

  6. Claire, this is an amazing story of courage and strength thank you for sharing, get the word out is very important. Their trailers is amazing,

    Hope you get all of your birthday wishes,

    Dawne

  7. So like you to post something like this on your birthday. I’ve shared links about Bob and Bill and about Times Like These & will keep doing so. Breast cancer isn’t pink. xoxo, Kathi

    • Thank you for sharing the links, Kathi. It’s very important not to leave our brothers out in the cold.

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  9. dear C.,

    I left a comment, but see it is not here? but I can’t miss the chance to wish you a most HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!! you did a wonderful thing with the wish you wished – and I really appreciated the link you posted to help us be more aware and supportive of the men who get breast cancer. I can’t remember what else I wrote. belch.

    much love and light to you at 59 and counting!

    Karen xoxo

  10. Knot, I so appreciate your discussing male breast cancer. It’s often not addressed and it should be. I have met men with breast cancer and spoke to them about their feelings of being ostracized — support groups not wanting to support them and people not taking their illness seriously enough. Male breast cancer patients are marginalized. I will be checking out your links.

    • Thank you, Beth, and then spread the word. It is an important issue and no one with this dread disease should be left out in the cold!

  11. I am late to your lovely, caring, sharing birthday party on your blog… I have shared your wishes to my few but best and most wonderful followers on FB and twitter. Birthdays at stage IV last all year, right? 🙂 Cheers to you my friend! xoxo

  12. I am very late here Knots – may your birthday last all year – and may you find some joy in each day ahead, whilst knowing the presence of the Peace that passes all understanding as you continue to participate in this journey called life.
    Prayers and blessings
    Maxine