Ed Kaps Award 2012.jpg
James Coffey
Linda Hoetger

Dave & Donna Evans
Dr. Alfred Brathwaite, Corydon Mitchell, Rudy Sands and Rev. Percy Kemp

James Coffey - Us TOO Men Together Ann's Place - Danbury, Connecticut

Jime Coffey Framed.jpgFor the past 8 years, Jim Coffey has facilitated the Prostate Cancer Men's group at Ann's Place in Danbury, CT. It was Jim who first connected the already existing group to Us TOO. 

Member Philip Bronson met Jim in the 1960’s and they coached baseball together for Bethel High School. His career in education progressed from high school English teacher, to guidance director, to high school principal, and all along the line his organization and ability to care about what others are dealing with has brought him success and others many great things!

Jim has brought his educational background, skills and personal experience to  the  group.  His guidance, wisdom and wit have created a Prostate Cancer support group for hundreds of men over the years, 25 to 30 men meeting faithfully each month. 

Joe Gillotti a fellow member shares, “Jim is a cancer survivor himself.   He knows just how to provide encouragement, support and camaraderie providing a safe, informative environment where men can feel comfortable in exploring their feelings, anxiety and sense of loss with others.  Jim has orchestrated numerous guest speakers and expert presenters every year to share their knowledge with men about Prostate Cancer.  The net result of Jim's efforts is that men can learn to feel comfortable.  They so appreciate talking and relating with one other; it is such a positive experience for them, they appreciate the opportunity to expanding their knowledge, they want to help others as they have been helped.”  

Brian Booher shares, “On any other evening of the month, we guys that are members don’t set many records for communication and candor. If anyone brings up the topic of prostate cancer with one of us, at best our responses are monosyllabic conversation stoppers: “Fine”. At worst, when a concerned family member asks one of us how we are doing, we stubbornly perform our roles of stoic husband or father by trying to spare them any worries with outright lies: “Everything is great!” Our Neanderthal behavior of fending off the very concern and support that we need is exhausting. But one evening a month, thanks in large part to Jim, we candidly discuss our worries.” 
 Brian continues to say that “It is an interesting paradox that, as a leader of our group, Jim selflessly serves us by disguising his “leading” so well that the rest of us are rarely conscious of it. I think that Jim’s dedicated service with no desire for recognition makes him richly deserving of this award.

Clinical Director Su Murdock from Ann’s Place comments that “Over the years Jim has handled the difficult tasks of dealing with the loss of group members with compassion and skill. He takes time to acknowledge each loss with the men, allowing time for remembering, honoring and grieving.  We are grateful here at Ann’s Place for the chance to recognize Jim in the broader community, and we cannot think of anyone who better deserves to be honored by receiving this award!

Joe Gillotti concludes by saying, “The world is a better place because of Jim Coffey.  He is one of those people who is genuinely liked by everyone.  His masterful expertise in providing a comfortable setting for men who find themselves in desperate anxiety with Prostate Cancer, very often with no other place to turn, is remarkable”

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Linda Hoetger - Us TOO Lancaster, Ohio

Linda Framed.jpgUs TOO’s journey with Linda and Ray Hoetger stated back in the fall of 2009. Linda called the Us TOO home office after first hearing about Ray’s diagnosis of prostate cancer. Many of you in the room know the feeling’s that Linda was experiencing. She did not know what to do or where to turn. She searched the internet and found the Us TOO Support Group in Lancaster Ohio. They attended their first meeting in August of 2009. “What really attracted me to the group was that wives and partners were invited, shares Linda. That night I felt like I was not alone. Others knew how I was feeling. Being part of Us TOO has been a blessing in our journey with prostate cancer. Being involved with the group and with others who understood what Ray and I were going through has been life- changing!”

After Ray had his surgery Linda found that using a favorite hobby she already had helped her through some of the most stressful times of Ray’s journey with prostate cancer.“I started making scrapbooks many years ago as a creative hobby and have found it is my stress relief. When we found out that Ray had prostate cancer I wanted a way to share what has been happening to us in a personal way.

Linda with her very creative imagination came up with a little character named PSA Petey the Prostate She  found out that the prostate is the size of a walnut, so she created Petey and started giving him some personality! Through Petey and his journeys, she came up with a way to promote awareness about prostate cancer and the importance of PSA levels for men. It was also a way to help deal with her own stress that came along with having a partner with prostate cancer.

Linda also started a Facebook page called “Prostate Cancer Survivors Caregivers and Friend’s United”.  The page provides a place where companions and family members  can find information that will help them through their journey with prostate cancer through the eyes of a caregiver.  They can find comfort, share stories, get educated, and most of all knowing that they are not alone. Linda keeps the page updated frequently sharing all the latest news on prostate cancer.

Bill Stevens, leader of the Us TOO Lancaster Ohio Chapter, along with all of their membership, unanimously supported the nomination of Linda for the Kaps Award.  “Linda has been extremely dedicated and active in support of prostate cancer awareness, both locally with our group, and nationally with Us TOO and Zero, shares Bill. She has attended several conferences, health fairs, and organized her first fundraising event called “Pasta for Prostates” this year. Linda is a multi-talented woman with a driving passion to fight the prostate cancer that has so affected their lives.

Linda has accomplished all these things while challenged by her own medical ailments. Her actions not only reflect a very kind and charitable heart, but also prominently emphasize that prostate cancer is a couple’s disease and the need for women to be proactive.   Sometime this evening be sure to ask Linda to share her story about her “Spill on Capitol Hill!"

Doreen Fast, one of the members of the Us TOO Lancaster support, shares that she and her husband Richard in the strongest and most loving way, support Linda for the Edward C. Kaps Hope Award. “Linda is and has been a beacon of hope for me and my family at a time of our darkest fears and time of need, shares Doreen. As with so many, the day you receive the news you have cancer is a time when we have a need for hope and friends who can hold your hand and guide your steps through many uncertain times. Linda has been a very important beacon of hope. A beacon does not use many words,  but it shines a light so bright a lost ship can find its way home. Linda has been so supportive with her acts of kindness, love and generosity. Linda expresses her hope for all of us through her love and actions. I am one of the lost ships in the night that Linda's beacon of Hope has guided home. 

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Dave & Donna Evans - Us TOO Quad Cities - Moline, Illinois

Dave and Donna Weber.jpgThis year was the first time anyone has nominated a husband and wife team for the Kaps Award. 

The entire Greater Quad Cities Us TOO Prostate Cancer Support Group recommended Dave and Donna Evans for the Edward C. Kaps Hope Award.

Dave and Donna have been promoters of great ideas and methods to get other support group members to get involved with special projects that promote their support group. They helped to organize a group of their members to form and establish a volunteer committee to take over some projects to let folks in Quad Cities know we had a support group in the area to help men and their families with the questions they had regarding the treatments that were available and list of members who had a treatment that they could talk to before making a choice. 

They both took charge and were willing to organize the group of volunteers to make sure each group member had specific task they agreed to do and followed up to make sure they were accomplishing the task and offered assistance if they were having problems performing the task.

Two very important projects where developed by Dave and Donna. They contacted the local professional Baseball Team (River Bandits) and arranged for our support group to be involved with their Fathers Day Game. Their efforts working with the Baseball Management worked into a Parade with a team of volunteers to help set up the floats with vehicles and trailers. During the game,  volunteers sold tennis balls, which were thrown by fans at the end of the game to land their ball on a mat that had specific prizes, for a dollar apiece or 6 for $5 dollars and they sold over $500 worth of balls which all went to Us TOO. The Team has made plans to invite their group back to do this again next year on Fathers Day.

Dave and Donna made arrangements with a local Radio Station to get their group involved with a Golf Tournament that is played with only two clubs (Putter & 7 Iron).  This tournament fills up with 140 players in less than 15 minutes because it is so popular and lots of fun. They found a sponsor for a closest to a pin awards and earned around $600.  Dave and Donna have arranged to do this again next year and get more involvement by the radio station to put out 1 minute commercials about the need for men to get checked for prostate cancer. 

As a result of their volunteer committee, they have developed a new website, www.ustoogqc.org, that will have information about their support group, when and where the meetings are and who the speaker will be and what the subject will be about. 

The funds they earn not only support projects to conduct screenings in the minority communities in our region, but also benefit Us TOO by donating one fourth of the proceeds we obtain directly to Us TOO for all of the assistance they provide to our support group.

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Dr. Alfred Brathwaite, Corydon Mitchell, Rudy Sands and Rev. Percy Kemp - 

Us TOO Grand Bahama

Bahamas Framed.jpgIn May 2010, on the small, sun-bathed island of Grand Bahama four men came together and began a relationship which quickly blossomed and eventually gave birth to what is now the Us TOO Grand Bahama Chapter. These men all possessed the same ideals of vision, compassion and dedication.

They first exhibited the vision to imagine a time when the men in their small community could be relatively insulated from the perils of prostate cancer. This vision drove them to embrace the Us TOO formula and take on the challenge of sensitizing and educating men about the benefits of early detection. Their local cultural realities and perceptions posed an even greater challenge to this message yet this never deterred the founding members.

Most of the men targeted come from the more economically challenged areas of their community. Very early on, the position was taken that their organization would strive to provide free screening to as many men as it possibly could. They successfully garnered support from the corporate community to help fund the chapter’s various activities. That position clearly highlights the notable compassion of these men.

Perhaps what is most impressive about these men is their astounding level of dedication. To set this into proper context, 100% of the seminars, screenings, meetings and other activities that have ever been organized, and executed by the chapter, have been through the direct involvement of these four men. To promote Us TOO’s message, they visited churches as well as civic and news organizations. At their first free screening exercise in 2011, a total of 89 men were served. Through their efforts, that number grew almost exponentially to 330 in the second exercise in September 2012! UsTOO is now almost a household name in our small community and our message is changing the thinking and practices of men in relation to their health.

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