“I had gone to the Men’s Health Clinic on a fairly regular basis,” says Heit.
But the event is held on a Saturday in early September, and Heit had missed a few years.
On Men’s Health Day 2016, Heit and his wife Terri happened to be shopping at Tillicum Centre.
“It was just a fluke,” says Terri.
“We didn’t realize it was on that day, and Mike said, ‘Oh, I’m going to take advantage of this,’ so I went shopping, and he had all the tests done. They did blood pressure, sugar, prostate, cholesterol…,” Terri said. There were also hearing, and a neck and throat cancer screenings.
Country Grocer sponsors the event. “We were actually touched as a family by prostate cancer, and there’s a few of our team members as well that have been impacted, so we decided to get involved 16 years ago,” Director Peter Cavin said.
Michael called for his prostate specific antigen, or PSA, test results a few days later.
“I knew a little bit about the game,” explains Michael. “So when I got a 14, my PSA score, I knew I was in deep trouble.”
Michael was sent to a prostate cancer specialist.
“And he said ‘I wish we would have got you earlier, because the way it is now if we don’t start Monday, with treatment, you’ve got six months to a year and a half to live.’ Kinda shocking, you know…?,” Michael said.
Heit is now in treatment and says he is grateful for the support he is receiving from the Island Prostate Centre.
The executive director of the Island Prostate Centre, Leanne Kopp, says that when one is diagnosed with cancer, there’s a sense of isolation.
“People feel like they’re all alone on this Island, that they have nowhere to turn, and that’s what we’re trying to change here at Island Prostate Centre. A lot of the work that happens here is just because someone said ‘well, you know my friend was diagnosed with prostate cancer, they came to the centre, and that’s why I’m here today, because I need your help as well’ and that’s exactly what we’re here to do. To help any man, and their family, that needs our help,” Kopp said.
“And all of our services here at the centre are free. You don’t need a medical referral at all.”
Michael and Terri are very glad they happened upon Men’s Health Day last September.
“I think [the event is] fantastic ” says Terri, “and I’m so glad he went because most men don’t like to visit their doctors.”
“I’d encourage men to go there because it’s important. It’s a lifesaver,” Michael said.
Men’s Health Day 2017 is Saturday, Sept. 9 at Tillicum Centre.