Chosen by actress Kristen Bell from more than 100 submitted narratives, the winners are Angie Wilfong of San Antonio, Texas, and Lucy Hayes of Gold Bar, Washington.
Wilfong and Hayes will be featured on PCF’s website and social media channels, and receive “caregiver packages” that include gifts curated by Bell from PCF partner and online lifestyle shopping site, Verishop.
The awareness campaign features perspectives that reflect love, honor and care for those who have or had prostate cancer, a disease that affects about one in nine men overall, and one in seven African Americans.
“Caregivers and family support are an essential part of a prostate cancer patient’s recovery,” Bell, whose father-in-law recently died from the disease, said in a press release. “For the demanding work they do, a caregiver’s role is sometimes unrecognized. The TRUE Love contest provides an opportunity for patients or their loved ones to express their deepest gratitude for recognizing their tireless work and supported care for patients. It is a privilege to work with PCF in honoring these unsung heroes,” she said.
In her submission, Wilfong wrote about her “reliable and responsible” father Angel who, in 1992, moved his family from Mexico to the United States. After learning last year that her father had prostate cancer with bone metastasis, the two became inseparable. To make sure Angel received care and support he needed, a devastated Wilfong moved her family into her parents’ home.
“We were born and raised in Mexico and migrated to the United States in 1992 when my brothers who were twins born prematurely had to be airlifted to the U.S. because they had no chance of survival in Mexico. My Daddy worked really hard, literally, to obtain his citizenship and little by little help us to obtain ours. … For anything that we have needed, any obstacle, my Daddy was always there,” Wilfong wrote in her winning entry.
“[M]y Daddy has weekly treatment appointments at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston … I have not missed any appointments because I want to make sure that he knows we are in this together … I want to be there with him all the way no matter what, just like he was with us,” Wilfong also wrote.
Whenever he was asked how he was doing, Hayes’ husband Phil, who was diagnosed with metastatic prostate cancer more than two years ago, would answer “Living in the dash!” That was an allusion to his summer college job at a Evergreen-Washelli Memorial cemetery, where Phil noticed that all the headstones shared one commonality: the dash separating the deceased’s year of birth and death. He realized that life happened in that dash, and became determined to make the most of his.
“One way he did that was raising our three sons to be fine young men, running a construction business with honesty and integrity, passing on construction skills to the next generation … and loving others (especially me for almost 46 years),” Hayes wrote. “He fought valiantly against this treacherous, aggressive cancer but succumbed at the end.”
All the contest stories, which the PCF asks supporters to share on social media, can be read here.
Christine Jones, chief operating officer at PCF, said: “We are grateful to Kristen for her continued support of PCF, the TRUE campaign and honoring the amazing work caregivers provide to prostate cancer patients.”
“Being a caregiver can be an extremely challenging and demanding job at times. That is why we’re doing the critically needed work of respecting caregivers for their hard work in caring for prostate cancer patients,” Jones added.
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