Adam Martin – Sturgis Police Department

I am writing this letter with regard to recent financial support you so kindly provided my family in 2009.

I am a police officer for Sturgis Police Department in Sturgis, SD, and home of the famous annual Sturgis Motorcycle Classic.  One day in late March 2009 at the end of a shift, I was standing in the patrol room with a few coworkers.   I called my K9 partner, “Suka” over to me and gave her a command to put her two front paws on to my chest.  Instead, “Suka” failed to jump her paws on to my chest, and I took a pawing in the groin.  The guys and I got a laugh out of it and I went home.

The following morning, I was still sore from the “pawing” I received the night before and noticed a small lump on my right testicle.  I shrugged it off as it was probably just swollen.  In the next four weeks, the lump didn’t go away.  I noticed the lump getting a little larger each week.  I began to have pain and it was very uncomfortable.  It was time to get to the doctor.  I went through an office visit to a family doctor, to a surgeon who conducted an ultrasound, and finally was referred to a urologist.  The time of being referred from one doctor to another was a little over a week.

April 29, 2009 will forever be a day of change for me.  This was the day I was officially diagnosed with testicular cancer.  I remember leaving my urologist’s office vividly.  My wife and I going to our car, breaking down in tears over how our life just changed and having so many questions unanswered.

I have never been so scared.  The next steps were phone calls to my family and employer.  I was scheduled for a surgery to remove the tumor on May 5th, 2009.  I took the weekend to spend as much time with my family as I could.  I have two beautiful children, Nathaniel and Rachel.  My wife of 11 years, a former music teacher, has been a stay at home mother since the birth of our first child.  My wife stood by my side during a difficulty no one should face, and could not have been braver.  Enclosed is a family photo we took the weekend before my surgery.  We figured we better get the picture taken before I had any chance of losing my hair!

Within the week after my surgery, I received a copy of the pathology report indicating what type of testicular cancer I was diagnosed with.  I was diagnosed with non-seminoma, 100 percent embryonal carcinoma testicular cancer.  I learned I would be facing chemotherapy, as this type of cancer is the second most aggressive type of testicular cancer, and doesn’t respond to radiation.

I continued recovery at home for six weeks, and then began to have liver enzyme problems.  I recovered from the liver problems within the week, well enough to start chemotherapy seven weeks after my surgery.  During this week, I had an office visit nearly every day for blood tests.

I was referred to an oncologist in Sioux Falls, S.D.  The trip across South Dakota would take approximately seven hours one way.  My doctor decided that two rounds of chemotherapy would be necessary due to a suspicious lymph node at 9 mm in my lower right back.  Each round of chemotherapy was three weeks long.   After completing chemotherapy, I have follow up appointments to Sioux Falls on a frequent basis, in addition to CT scans, chest x-rays, and monthly blood work.

As I get closer to my one- year anniversary from being diagnosed with cancer, I can say I am cancer free!  The hardest part of being a cancer survivor is I know there are hundreds of men and women in fire, EMS, and law enforcement every year who are directly affected by cancer, and may feel they have no hope for financial support.

Foundation 58, you gave my family and me hope!  The financial support you provided let my wife concentrate on taking care of me.  This was a huge part of my recovery process.  I had enough to worry about.  Cancer struck me unexpectedly.  Words cannot describe the relief of having the financial support to pay the medical bills!

Once again, thank you so much for all that you have done for my family!  But mostly, I pray that you will continue this very important part of support for those who qualify to receive it!  Foundation 58 was a blessing to me, and thank you for helping me fight my battle!

Adam Martin