Baseball legend and Palm Desert resident Steve Garvey wants others to learn from his example. The highly decorated first baseman for the Dodgers and Padres began a fight against prostate cancer last September. "We realized that God threw us a curve and fortunately we hit it out of the ballpark, cautiously and optimistically," said Garvey.
He was in perfect health, but prostate cancer runs in Garvey's family.
"The call one day that Dad has prostate cancer and was getting operated on, and he was 64," said Garvey. The same age Steve was when he got the news. Garvey chose to take the most extreme action against the cancer and have the doctors remove his prostate. Days after the surgery, his doctor gave this report. "You know, I believe the cancer's encapsulated, I believe the cancer hasn't gone to the lymph nodes," said Garvey. "Let's wait for radiation, wait for any more proactive treatments, let's take a blood test in three months and go from there."
The most recent results show the surgery struck out the cancer completely. Though, Garvey still gets a monthly test to ensure it's gone for good. Now cancer-free, Garvey wants to help other men step up to the plate and get proactive. "My wife came up with this term, 'Are you man enough?' to address prostate Cancer and it's a simple thing to do to take a PSA test," said Garvey. "But man up, don't be selfish."
Garvey also chose to be unselfish in another way. He's putting memorabilia from his career up for auction to help raise money for research in the fight against prostate cancer. Items like his 1981 World Series ring with the Dodgers and the bat he used to hit a walk-off home run for the Padres in game four of the National League Championship Series in 1984. "It's been there, it's been on the shelves, you can't take the accomplishment away," said Garvey. "But these trophies and material things, that maybe should be shared with others."
Garvey won lots of awards as a player: 10-time All-Star, National League MVP in 1974 among the many, but his most valuable role may come as a coach-- helping to save lives. "If I can make a difference in men's lives, by prodding them to take a PSA test, prodding them to take their life into their own hands, then that's my job," said Garvey.
Garvey will serve as the honorary chairman at the Desert Spirit Gala on April 7. He will help hand out the American Cancer Society's celebration of life award to two cancer survivors. For more information go to:
or call 760-340-1597.