Jason Baker and Christy, his fiancé at the time, were in a hostel in Bangkok when he noticed something was wrong. The best way to describe how his testicle felt, he says, was to compare it to a peach pit. Rock hard, rough. Too intimidated to walk into a medical clinic in Bangkok, he put the thought out of his mind and continued on his travels for the rest of the month.
When the couple returned to Calgary at the end of August 2008, he went to a clinic and was then sent for an ultrasound and to a diagnostic clinic, without telling Christy what was going on. When an appointment reminder accidentally popped up on her computer and she learned what he was going through, she made things happen. Working in the medical industry, Christy asked a customer to look at him. Immediately after his examination, he was taken in for major surgery, a procedure to remove the
affected testicle known as an Orchidectomy.
The first time Jason “used the tools,” after his surgery, Christy (now his wife) became pregnant. They reveled in the news and the fact he was cancer free. But in May 2009, the cancer returned. Because Jason’s doctors told him the cancer might spread to his lymphatic system, he was monitored regularly at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre with x-rays, blood work and CT scans so when it did return, it was caught early. And then the work began.
Jason went through three months of gruelling chemotherapy between May and July and one week later, their daughter Addyson was born. Since then he has turned his cancer journey into a more public mission, starting the aptly named oneBall organization, to help patients and family members cope with the disease. Formed by Jason, his wife, and a group of friends, including Dr. Daniel Heng, his oncologist at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and now medical director of his board, the group’s goals are to raise money for research and clinical trials, educate young males about the disease, promote early diagnosis and hold two fundraising events each year. At the first event—a head/beard shave off—the goal was to raise $10,000 for the Alberta Cancer Foundation. At the end of the evening, they made $26,000.
“For me, it was never a question of whether I would beat this thing,” he says. “I never thought of myself as a survivor because it never entered my mind that I was going to die. So now, I want to create as much awareness as I can and raise money for testicular cancer research.”
“Attitude was the most important factor for me and my family!"
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