The month of November is dedicated to creating conversation about men's health. Initiatives like Movember and No Shave November have done amazing jobs in opening a dialogue to discuss prostate cancer, a disease that will affect about 1 in 9 men during their lifetimes.
Today we are sharing the story of a prostate cancer survivor and SNFC member, Rudy Pospisil, and his incredible journey around the world since his diagnosis.
Rudy worked as a firefighter for 19 years. He was in top physical shape and had no reasons to believe anything might be wrong. He read about another firefighter who passed away at the age of 35 from prostate cancer and was encouraging others in their line of work to get tested. Given prostate cancer is a job related disease, Rudy elected to get tested. High PSA levels led doctors to believe he had an infection, but after much persistence, he got a biopsy done, where it was revealed he had prostate cancer.
Receiving news like this can take a toll on a person, both physically and mentally.
"I was numb for a long time. The only escape I had during treatment was my exercises at the gym, as long as I had the strength. I promised myself if I survive, I will inspire others to never give up hope and fundraise for better treatment and diagnostics."
Motivated by his brush with death and writing his own obituary, Rudy felt a need to spread awareness and inspire others going through a similar struggle. He decided to ride his bike from Vancouver, BC to Mexico to raise funds for cancer research.
"After surgery and treatment I decided to take on the ultimate challenge and ride to Mexico. On average I rode about 160 km a day. The elevation from Vancouver to Mexico felt like a climb up Everest."
He completed his ride to Mexico, but felt that his journey had just begun. What started out as a one time event, quickly turned into a 10 year endeavour. And absolutely nothing was going to stop him from continuing on his mission.
"I've been robbed by bandits in Mexico, bitten by a deadly red-bellied black snake, stung by a scorpion, survived through two typhoons and a hurricane, and have been hit by cars twice. Somehow I survived all of this. I felt like this cycling journey was my destiny. I had maybe found out why I was born, why I had gotten cancer, and why I survived."
In those 10 years, Rudy has cycled all over the world. He's traveled through North America, across Europe in places like Portugal, Spain, France, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Greece, Switzerland, and Germany, as well as Thailand and Australia. In December of 2017, Rudy completed his journey in New Zealand.
With this global cycling adventure over, Rudy needed new challenges. Since then he has gone on to swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco, completed a full ironman in Whistler, BC and most recently, set out to set a record 54 km cycle up Haleakala Volcano in Hawaii.