By: Jamie Bearse, President & CEO of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer;
– My temperature jumped six degrees in three hours. That’s when I knew in my gut that I had COVID-19. I had become one of the more than one million and counting Americans with the Coronavirus. As a leader in the patient advocacy and healthcare community for nearly 20 years, my wife and I still scrambled to determine what action I needed to take: Quarantine and wait it out, or go to the ER?
I waited out the night and attacked it with Tylenol as I slept most of the night on my stomach to reduce stress on my lungs because I had just read an article about how ER doctors in Long Island were getting patients to roll over off their backs to improve survivability.
The next day I went in for testing and it played out like a science fiction movie. Everyone around me was fully covered in protective gear and face shields. What you might not know is that you can’t hear what anyone says through the gear, you have to communicate with gestures and your eyes.
Later, I was loaded into a CT scan machine to examine my chest for inflammation. While I had the virus, I didn’t have lung inflammation but as I laid on the bench, all I could think about was what if I was a cancer patient? Someone who struggled with Asthma or COPD? What if I lived in a rural area or didn’t have healthcare coverage?
It’s these patients who are most vulnerable when it comes to COVID-19 and they can’t be forgotten during this pandemic. In fact, it’s more important than ever to support the health causes we care about the most. Organizations that are experienced and geared toward meeting unmet patient needs are struggling to handle the increased burden put on them by the many patients with existing conditions and/or ones without adequate access to care needed by them the most. A recent survey by NonProfit Quarterly shows that 86 percent of nonprofits have already cut programs. CHC surveyed its partners too, and even in early March, 73 percent had already canceled events, losing hundreds of millions of critical fundraising dollars. The pandemic and the far-reaching impact on the economy is one that will decimate many essential charities and accelerate the life-threatening health problems many Americans face today.
To say your support of the health charities that deliver programs in your community and across the country is critical is an understatement. We’re all living in extremely uncertain times, we’re washing our hands a dozen times a day, watching our wallets, scouring the internet for disinfectant wipes and toilet paper and, most important of all, wishing good health for our fellow Americans. Your donation – no matter how small – to health charities is the best way to ensure lasting and good health for our neighbors, family members, and friends because it protects our most vulnerable Americans.
Throughout my journey with COVID-19, I’ve thought about those who must face this crisis with cancer, heart disease, or respiratory issues. My heart goes out to all of them and to you and your family. Stay safe and well. In time, we will all be together again at some of these charity health walks to share a smile and walk a mile, but today, we can stand together by lending our support right now.
Jamie Bearse, President & CEO of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer
As President & CEO of ZERO – The End of Prostate Cancer, Jamie Bearse is committed to championing the cause while stewarding this leading cancer organization. Bearse has been with ZERO for 17 years and has been a critical member of the leadership team since 2005.
He is recognized as the key architect of several of ZERO’s strategic objectives and programs including the ZERO Prostate Cancer Run/Walk, it’s Endurance Team initiative, co-pay relief program, and ZERO360 Patient Navigation. Under his leadership, ZERO has become a four-out-four star rated organization by Charity Navigator and has been named in the Top 50 Best Charities to Work for by the Non-Profit Times for the last seven years.
During his career, Bearse has built significant partnerships toward ending prostate cancer and has raised more than $150M for prostate cancer research, education and support. He is currently focused on building ZERO’s champion program to empower survivors and families to take an active role in the organization to engage those impacted by the disease. Bearse is also a leader in the medical research advocacy community to establish federal government funding for cancer research and to ease access to care for all patients.
Bearse has a certificate in Executive Leadership from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, holds a MPA from the University of Southern California, and holds a BA from the University of Massachusetts. He’s a black belt in karate, a blogger, podcast host and he lives in Boston, MA with his wife and three children.