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Dying too early

By Suzanne Elston

Dave Martin was a hard person to be around. He had a driving intelligence and a laugh that would peel wallpaper and wake sleeping babies. He had a seemingly endless amount of energy and burning drive to protect the planet from the perils of the nuclear industry and climate change. I would be hard pressed to call Dave my friend. Comrade-in-arms, ecological conscience and teacher – all of these would be so much more appropriate.

For the dozen or so years that Durham Nuclear Awareness had its regular monthly meetings in my living room, Dave taught us about the dangers of nuclear power – the environmental, economic and health related impacts. He schooled us in political process and drilled us on how to never take “no” for an answer. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of just about everything and was a relentless mentor.

Dave died of prostate cancer on September 12 – four and half years after he was diagnosed and given just a few short months to live. Dave’s ability to survive for as long as he did is a testimony to the sheer force of his will. He was painfully aware that there are too few of us fighting the good fight, and too many of us falling victim.

There is a horrific irony in Dave’s death. Jack Layton’s death this past summer and Bob Hunter’s death in 2005 were also attributed to prostate cancer. We are all diminished by their individual passing. Collectively, we will never replace their energy and ability.

If we are to honor Dave and Jack and Bob and countless thousands of others – then we must stop the madness that is killing our heroes, our loved ones and our children.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among Canadian men (excluding non-melanoma skin cancer). In 2011:

  • An estimated 25,500 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and 4,100 will die of it.
  • On average, 70 Canadian men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer every day.
  • On average, 11 Canadian men will die of prostate cancer every day.
  • One in 7 men will develop prostate cancer during his lifetime (the risk is highest after 60) and one in 28 will die of it.

And how do we stop this madness???


RELATED:

Layton didn’t lose a fight: He died of cancer, Globe and Mail (August 23)
Remembering Dave Martin, Now Toronto (September 15)


 
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