The Drive to Thrive

The Steven H. Pollack Endowment for Cancer Research will support research in cancer prevention at The James and will provide educational programs in the community about cancer prevention.

Four years ago, during a pre-operative examination for a simple procedure, Steve Pollack’s doctor discovered an unusual shadow on his chest X-ray. A few weeks later, Steve was diagnosed with breast cancer, underwent a mastectomy and realized how blessed he was to catch the cancer early, providing him with a good prognosis. In the months following his mastectomy, Steve struggled to talk about his breast cancer, especially since it was something commonly found in women, but not men. Two hundred thousand cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women each year, compared to only 2,000 cases in men. But Steve wasn’t concerned about statistics, he wanted to survive and more. “I knew I was going to survive, but I decided it’s even better to thrive,” Steve says.

After participating in several survivorship classes offered through JamesCare for Life, including a writing class and a drama class, Steve learned how to express himself and his feelings. He became interested in yoga, which was not offered at The James. So, he decided to make a donation to JamesCare for Life to fund a yoga class. “I have benefited so much from the “Yoga for Cancer Survivors” class and I want other survivors to experience those benefits,” Steve explains. The cancer experience is stressful and filled with anxiety and uncertainty. “It’s important to have a place you can go to be surrounded by other survivors who understand what you are going through and can help you as you continue to make progress,” Steve says. 

In 2010, Steve became a red coat volunteer at The James in order to help others the same way he had been helped. One day every week, Steve visits with patients in radiation oncology and another day he visits with patients receiving chemotherapy treatments at The Stefanie Spielman Comprehensive Breast Center. “My volunteer days are the two best days of my week,” Steve says. “Listening to patients and their families and serving as a role model is very rewarding. Sometimes the most powerful medicine we have to give is the medicine of our friendship.” Steve believes the statement he has heard many times, “At The James it’s all about the patient.”

JamesCare for Life offers classes and support groups to assist survivors and their families on their cancer journey.

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