Enumclaw local Dave Treat has lived with Stage 4 prostate cancer for nine years.
The cancer just appeared, he said — at one annual checkup, he was clear; the next, doctors found it had already spread across his body.
Though not terminal, Treat was going “insane in my own mind from fear and all the other crap that goes along with this,” he said in a recent interview, so he decided he needed some outside perspective.
He turned to another local, George Bell, who was also diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Through Bell, Treat continued to meet more and more people who were living with cancer, or were in remission.
“Next thing I know, we got a group,” Treat said. “And then within that group, we decided to try and be of service to the community.”
That was in 2015, and the group, called the Plateau Prostate Cancer Support Group, continued strong for several years, meeting at St. Elizabeth once a month.
In 2017, former leader Michael Gordon was honored with the Edward C. Kaps Hope Award for the group’s efforts on the Plateau by UsToo International (now ZERO Prostate Cancer), a nonprofit that aims to help those afflicted with prostate cancer, and their loved ones, find educational resources and support.
But the nature of a cancer support group means members come and go, one way or another — both Bell and Gordon eventually moved on, leaving those left behind rudderless — and the COVID-19 pandemic only hastened the group’s wane.
“We’d still get together for potlucks we’d host out of our house… [a] barbecue or something,” said Joanne Treat, Dave’s wife and caregiver, but the “support” aspect had mostly evaporated.
Which is why Treat wants to find someone to take up the mantle of leader and reenergize the Plateau Prostate Cancer Support Group.
It can’t be him, Treat said, because he travels too often, but he wants someone to bring back “a sense of hope” and “ease the fears” for Enumclaw-area cancer patients and families, especially for men.
“For a lot of men, it’s really hard for them to talk about getting prostate cancer,” Joanne, who is also a breast cancer survivor, said. “This is a place where they can feel safe and get support. Share with each other… realize they’re not alone.”
The Plateau Prostate Cancer Support Group is now meeting at the Enumclaw Airport, starting this Saturday, Nov. 18, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.; lunch, in the form of a moose and vegetable soup, will be provided.
Treat hopes this will become a monthly meeting again, but he can’t make any promises until a new leader is found.
To learn more about the Plateau Prostate Cancer Support Group, future meetings, or if you’re interested in leading it, you can contact Treat at 253-377-0835.