Image: Joe Ayers, Fighting For Men’s Health Organizer
Next Meeting: The Second Saturday of Every Month
Joe Ayers’ carcinoma cancer was discovered during hip surgery. “And I would have been dead in six months,” Ayers said. He beat it six years ago and about a month after carcinoma freedom, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. “It was the prostate cancer that gave me the most anxiety,” Ayers said. After being inundated with all that info, too much from too many doctors, Ayers got the help he needed; he beat prostate cancer too.
Ayers sought help and asked questions; according to the two-time cancer beater, that’s not always the case. “Men we don’t ask the right questions [about health],” Ayers said. “We don’t share information about our health like erectile dysfunction. Sometimes that is a side effect of certain illnesses. We don’t discuss that even with our wives.”
Ayers also noted that sometimes doctors don’t give you the right information.
To stem the tide of misinformation and the sometimes lack of proactive self-care, Ayers started a monthly men’s health meeting that drops the second Saturday of every month, from 1 P.M. to 3 P.M., at the Fort Wayne Urban League, 2135 South Hanna Street.
Ayers is collaborating with Pastor David Moore and Bill Seidel on this endeavor. “We all have gone through our health issues,” Ayers said. He has partnered with the health organizations Chi Eta Phi sorority, the Fort Wayne chapter of the professional nursing organization, and the Oak Street Health clinic at 436 East Washington Blvd. Dr. Bowman, a urologist, is also on hand to answer questions.
“We had a wonderful time meeting Fort Wayne residents and educating them about the importance of monitoring their blood pressure,” said Caroline Crispino, Director of PR and Communications at Oak Street Health. “At Oak Street Health, we're committed to being ingrained in our local communities, and Fort Wayne is no exception.”
“Meetings have helped me out a lot. I still need someone to talk to,” Ayers said. “Since we’ve been doing the meetings, I’ve met a lot of young men with health issues. We’re the elders now.”
Men are also encouraged to bring their spouses and girlfriends to the meetings. First lady Moore, David Moore’s wife, and other female volunteers are providing a lending ear.
Personal information discussed in the meetings is confidential.
“We do it with God’s grace,” Ayers said. “We do what my mom told me, to share and care for others.”
Fighting for Men’s Health Monthly Meeting, the second Saturday of every month, at the Fort Wayne Urban League, 2135 South Hanna Street, Fort Wayne, Indiana 46807, from 1 P.M. to 3 P.M. Any questions, contact Joe Ayers, (260) 348-6080, firstname.lastname@example.org.