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If you’re a guy, and you’ve stopped into Kent Island Marine in Stevensville, there’s a good chance that you will leave understanding just how important it is for men to be screened for prostate cancer.
John Wieslander has been cancer free for more than two years and based on his medical experience over the last few years, he has made it his mission to raise awareness for prostate cancer. Toward that goal John created Wieslander Racing for a Cure which in addition to education, raises funding for some pretty impressive research done by Johns Hopkins’ Dr. Ashley Ross.
“We’re an organization dedicated to raising awareness and funding for prostate cancer research, said John Wieslander. “This year we had a raffle for a beautiful Paul Reed Smith S2 Mira which is made here on Kent Island.”
“The research itself is very important and grossly underfunded. This is a disease that will impact virtually every man, woman and child,” said Wieslander. “Our goal is to address men’s well-care though our customers, the general public and those I encounter every day in my everyday life. I have an easy job, I have a customer at the end of the day, sitting down to settle-up his account, and that’s an easy in to say ‘would you like to make a donation to Wieslander racing for a cure.’ Our goal is to raise as much money as we can by participating in local car shows, SCA racing and our local charity events.” The Wieslanders’ race car, in which Todd won his first two races, “acts like a moving billboard getting out our message,” Todd said.
The guitar raffle raised more than $2,500 and John donated about $690 from the business. Without this money coming in the research can’t move forward. I can raise awareness and try to get folks to the doctor. When you get to the doctor our hopes are that you will be met with the latest cancer fighting technology available,” said John, who spent months researching the latest science in the fight against prostate cancer – immunotherapy. “Immunotherapy is the wave of the future,” he said.
John’s story began shortly after he turned 50 when his family doctor wanted him to participate in a men’s’ well-care program. Part of that was a PSA test which found irregularities.
At first, John used a urologist in Annapolis for about 5 years, after which time the PSA level spiked. “I decided to go the best hospital in the world, Johns Hopkins and the Brady Urological Institute.” There a special MRI was performed, one that is not available at all hospitals. The results didn’t show prostate cancer, but did catch a small tumor in his bladder.
One day in the hospital’s elevator John had a chance meeting with Dr. Ashley Ross. The pair struck up a conversation and John learned about the doctor’s research.
“We talked about all kinds of things, and I really liked his demeanor and the things he was doing. Hopkins isn’t just a surgical hospital; it’s a teaching and research hospital. When you are affected by cancer you tend to take great interest in it, and I did. So I asked a lot of questions and Dr. Ross explained that the funding for these small new studies comes in in dribs and drabs by grateful patients.
“It was at that point that I figured that I had the perfect opportunity with my business to raise a little money, pay it forward, and maybe help pave a brighter future for all men,” said John.
Dr. Ashley Ross, runs Hopkins’ prostate research program at Johns Hopkins Brady Urological Institute. “We’re really interested in evaluating new technologies both diagnostically in prostate cancer and also new therapeutics,” Dr. Ross said. “When I first came to know John he wanted to know how to take his patient experience and transform that into one that where he can get involved in research programs and further research in many areas particularly those that may be underfunded but have potential high rewards. He really focused in on some of our immunotherapy efforts. There has been a lot of the interest in medical science in the last few years on the subject of training your immune system to attack specific types of cancer i.e. immunotherapy.
For the January 26th presentation of the check ceremony Dr. Ross, who was accepting the funds to further his research, was joined by Lisa Hammond, also of Johns Hopkins, and Linda Kohler of Chesapeake Charites which manages the charitable funds raised by Wieslander Racing for a Cure.
Also on hand for the photo-op and to pick up his PRS Guitar, was Chris Cantor, of Denton, winner of the guitar raffle. “I came up here to Kent Island Marines in an emergency situation,” said Cantor. He was on Kent Island to participate in a bass tournament and had boat trouble. “John fixed me right up. I heard John’s story and figured it was the least I could do, to buy a raffle ticket and help support John’s cause. Not only did Cantor win the PRS Guitar he also won the tournament.