This is a story about a far away river in a far away place. A journey that was supposed to begin with my Dad and I, but now it begins with just I. Where once upon a time this adventure that we had so often talked about, was to be our brief interlude in life on a big wild river, playing in nature, paddling along, skipping stones, being spirited and adventuresome – to be kids again – to be Pirates of the Yukon.  In May 2016 I commit myself to this 2,000 mile journey on the Yukon River in memory of my Father, who died of prostate cancer on July 14, 2015.

-Gena Howald

The Goal

yukonmapThe purpose of this journey, is to raise the level of awareness about prostate cancer and ultimately money for prevention, detection and research.

  • Prostate cancer can be slow-growing and benign or fast-growing and dangerous.
  • 1 in 7 men are affected by prostate cancer in his lifetime.
  • 1 man dies from prostate cancer every 19.1 minutes.
  • Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in U.S. men.
  • Early detection is key for treating prostate cancer, especially for men who are at hereditary risk or over 40.

42 thoughts on “

  1. Gena, I have just joined you in your wonderful adventure. What a lovely, joyous yet sad video I got the opportunity to watch. Great job on bringing out the tears and wonderful pictures of the family. You know how proud and happy your Father wil be as you make your Pirate trek on the Yukon! Good Luck, God Bless and be safe.

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    1. Thank you Scott. A good friend of mine created the video. I have been able to watch it only a couple of times, as it is so emotional for me. Thank you so much for the well wishes and your support.

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  2. I’m with you Gena, I will reach out to the men in my life that have been or could be touched by this. My best male friend in all the world was diagnosed with prostate cancer 8 years ago. I fear for him each time he goes in for blood work. He has always been very out and direct about his experience during and after his procedure, which has been an invitation to many of my clients that are currently struggling with their own diagnoses. This is a passionate subject for us. You are an inspiration.

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    1. Maggie – Thank you so much for sharing this. A friend of mine, whom I have never met, but we keep in touch as he has advanced metastatic prostate cancer and knew my father through an online forum, said: “we need more women to advocate for prostate cancer, because the men won’t do it.” Please reach out to those men:)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Nicely done Gena. Maybe God willing I can join
    you for a couple miles. Thank you for your passion. Your dad would be proud. Watch for contrails in the sky.

    Dominic

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Dominic – I will watch for those contrails –
      I am always thinking of you and praying for you. Your role in my adventure is much greater than you probably realize:) My very best to you, gena

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  4. “Pirates of the Yukon”. Dearest Gena, You are an amazing daughter, and I couldn’t be prouder. Your Dad loved you dearly & I know he will be with you every mile of your journey. He’s got your back!! Godspeed!! Love you forever, mom. p.s. The video is very emotional for me too.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are a nut and I love you! I plan to grow old with you so no funny business up there. You are so courageous, your Dad would be very proud of you. I’ll be praying for you to have a safe and speedy journey! I love you! Jen

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  6. Gena, you go for it girl, I will be cheering you on and watching your progress. Guys, get with it, get checked, if you even think there is symptom, talk to your doctor! Gena, my donation will be in Canada and I will give you the details, thanks and paddle on. Tom

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    1. Tom – Thank you for your wise words to all men and for promoting awareness – If the stars and planets line up, I will swing by Vancouver Island for a visit! xo

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  7. Gena you are amazing. Your dad knows his girl is on this adventure for him without a doubt!! I am so impressed by you. I will check with Tena all the time on your ping location!! Xox

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  8. Hey Gena, I’m so proud to call you a friend. You not only go with your father, you go with my father, and my fathers father. You go with all that have or will have. You go.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Dear Gena
    Your trip will parallel the lives of many of our patients living with prostate cancer on their own long, arduous and unpredictable journeys. Speaking for the thousands of other prostate cancer caregivers and researchers, THANK YOU for doing this and joining our fight to change the outcomes of these men who mean so much to the people in their lives. Though we cannot change your father’s fate, together we can for someone else’s dad. How cool is that? God Bless and take care

    Dan George, MD
    Director of Genitourinary Oncology
    Duke Cancer Institute

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Dr. George – Your support is empowering, and your comments speak volumes to your contribution and commitment to these men. As a collective we can make a difference. Thank you. Best to you.

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  11. Gina, what an amazing adventure and a beautiful way to make a difference for others facing prostate cancer or for any cancer given its devastating mark on many peoples lives. You father will be with you all the way to the Arctic ocean ;0) Wishing you safe travels and beautiful moments in your journey. Bon voyage et bon chance. Greg

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    1. Greg – Thank you – good to see you the other day, though too brief – I wish we could have caught up – looks like you had amazing travels in Iceland! Thanks again for your support! xo

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  12. Gena, I just found this blog. My own father, Harold Soles, passed away from Metastasized Prostate Cancer on January 22nd of this year. I’ll be following your adventure daily so keep ’em coming!!!

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  13. My friend Bozena told me about you and your dad planning to make this fantastic trip. I hope you find someone to go with you and certainly you will have your dad on your mind the whole time. One never forgets a loving dad and since mine died some years ago I just miss him more. It would be difficult to find an issue closer to the hearts of men. Good for you.

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  14. We loved meeting you and we will follow your website. Hope that you were able to keep dry at Dawson city. We were the couple from Illinois. Was nice chatting with you on the drive to the ferry.

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  15. Hi Gena,
    I am heartbroken for the loss of your Dad. I am Dominic Marrese’s niece, Maureen Ludwig. I will be making a $1000 donation to your cause. This is a terrible disease, and we have to fight like hell to extend the lives of our loved ones or better yet, find a cure! Please stay safe!
    Sincerely,
    Maureen Ludwig

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  16. Gena what an amazing gal you must be. This is some adventure you are taking on. I enjoy following you on your trip.I knew your dad well. We were in the starting class at Ozark in 1965.I’am sure he is keeping a close eye on you.May God an your dad watch over you. Safe journey.

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  17. Gena,
    At the start of the 4th of July weekend, your post from Grayling looks like the end may be in sight. It’s been a great armchair trip following your adventure. Your dad would have been proud and has probably been keeping an eye out for you.

    David

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  18. Hey Gena, I didn’t know Bob had passed away until just the other day. I’m very sorry for your loss. Your tribute trip to him is awesome and I am really touched . Life is short, go hard. Thanks a bunch for sharing.
    Mike B. – JH

    Liked by 1 person

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