Statement made on 31 March 2010 by Senator Rod Zimmer (retired)
Hon. Rod A. A. Zimmer:
Honourable senators, today is a special day on Parliament Hill. Today, we unite in support of our colleague and comrade Mr. Jack Layton and every other man in Canada who is faced with the fight against prostate cancer.
Prostate cancer is a disease. It is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men and has rates comparable to those of breast cancer in women. Over 90 per cent of prostate cancer cases are curable if detected and treated in the earliest stages.
Honourable senators, if you allow me in my remaining allocated time, as the movie is entitled, let me become "up close and personal." Almost seven years ago, I was diagnosed with throat cancer with the odds of 20 per cent of surviving for two years. When Dr. Kerr, the Head of Oncology at the Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg, along with Doctors Maksymiuk and Butler — whom I consider saints, not doctors, since they saved my life — gave me the news, I reacted by saying, "Doctor, the seventh stage of death is acceptance. I'm there, so flip me over, zap my backside and let's go!" He responded by saying, "Good attitude!"
A positive attitude generates energy and adrenaline and fights off this disease. It also counters stress. Cancer exists in all of our systems and will attack the most vulnerable parts of your body over 10,000 times in your lifetime. Therefore, as much as possible, honourable senators, take the stress out of your life.
Many Canadian men and their families are unaware of the disease and the associated risks. Therefore, along with honourable senators in this place and our colleagues in the other place, I wear my blue tie as a representation of my support to promote prostate cancer awareness, detection, treatment and a cure.
Honourable senators, almost seven years after a one-time seven-week treatment, I am considered a survivor. However, if you are struck by cancer, do not weaken. Take on the challenge, because I know it can be beaten. Many myths are out there, but I have been on this adventure. Therefore, along your journey, I pledge to all honourable senators today, irrespective of your political background or where you sit in this Red Chamber, if you wish, I will mentor, guide, comfort, talk, pray and walk with you. If you weaken in the last few weeks of your treatment, I will lift you upon my shoulders and carry you the rest of the way because you are my comrades. That is my promise.
Hon. Senators: Hear, hear.