Fay: My wife's re-diagnosis made me realize I needed to help fight cancer

Posted at 6:00 AM, Oct 10, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-10 06:00:05-04

I had pretty much decided that I wasn't going to participate in the Real Men Wear Pink breast cancer fundraising effort this year.

I did it last year, and it was a great experience, but I was a little uncomfortable hitting up the same people for donations two years in a row. (You, by the way, are the people I'm talking about.)

I had a lot of other reasons not to do it. Chief among them that I'm pretty lazy and it's a bit of work. My niece, Jen Gruber, is no longer with the American Cancer Society. She carried me through last year's campaign.

Then on Dec. 9, my wife, Laura Fay, was diagnosed with breast cancer for the second time.

I knew then I would be back.

I told the gathering at the kickoff breakfast why. It's been quite the ordeal for Laura -- chemo, multiple surgeries, radiation -- but we're going to come out the other side.

For a long weekend in the June, we didn't think that would be the case. A breast cancer specialist was worried enough that the cancer had spread that she ordered a PET scan. If it had, she was Stage 4.

"Stage 4 is incurable," the doctor told us.

I had limited my research to Stage 3, which is where we thought Laura was at. I had no idea that Stage 4 was incurable.

Two lymph nodes on the PET scan lit up at 9 on the 10-point scale. The pulmonologist told us before the biopsy that he was pretty certain they were cancerous. Thus began the long weekend.

The biopsy showed the nodes weren't cancerous. It was the happiest news we've ever gotten. We were back to Stage 3 -- back to curable.

But shouldn't all stages be curable?

Maybe the money I raise this year will help move the needle that way, so I'm asking that you give to my campaign.

I'm one of 20 men participating in the Greater Cincinnati campaign. Some are famous like Marvin Lewis and Dave Lapham. Some are powerful executives. Some are doctors or lawyers. The commonality is all have been touched by cancer. In most cases, like mine, touched by breast cancer.

You can donate through my page by clicking on this link.

John Fay is a freelance columnist who writes about the Reds, Bengals and other sports for Contact him at