MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Whether it’s a co-worker, friend or family member, we all know someone who’s battled cancer. This month, through Movember, WCCO is trying to raise awareness about cancers affecting men.
Steve Pesek was 20 years old when he had to deal with cancer for the first time. He was diagnosed with Stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma while attending the University of Minnesota.
“When you’re that young, you’re invincible, nothing can knock you down,” Pesek said. “And then, when the night before Homecoming, you find out you have cancer, it just stops you in your tracks and you’re like, ‘OK, what do we do now?'”
What Pesek did was start talking it with other people whose lives had been touched by cancer.
“It kind of settles your heart and your mind to say ‘Oh, this is somebody that’s trying to comfort me and talk to me and make things a lot easier,'” he said.
Pesek is now in his fifth Movember and the conversations his mustache sparks are just as important as the money he raises.
“For me, the big thing is communication, that’s what I always stress to people,” Pesek said. “Prostate cancer, men’s health in general just needed a kick in the butt.”
Those conversations rang true a few years ago, when the doctor that diagnosed him with Hodgkins diagnosed his grandfather with prostate cancer.
“It kind of hit home. My family saw my mustache that first couple of seasons and then I said this is exactly why this is here, to talk about and help him out,” said Pesek.
His grandfather Lenny went through treatment and is healthy now, but that moment reinvigorated Pesek and brought new purpose to his battle against cancer.
“As a cancer survivor now, I am most likely going to get cancer again,” Pesek said. “And if I can help fight it now I may be saving my life later.”