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Mission in Action

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Thomas Tillman visiting with a CCDM Staff MemberIf it wasn’t for a free prostate screening by Ascension Columbia St. Mary’s Polly and Bill Van Dyke Cancer Center Milwaukee, Thomas Tillman probably wouldn’t be alive today.

For two years Thomas – with his booming laugh and positive demeanor – was a favorite of the staff at Ascension Columbia St. Mary's (CSM) New Life Community-based Chronic Disease Management (CCDM) Clinic, which he was visiting regularly to help control his high blood pressure. It was that dedicated team who pressured Thomas to visit the free prostate cancer screening event in 2010.

Luckily for him they did care enough about his well-being to push him because the results showed an enlarged prostate and an elevated PSA. A subsequent biopsy would come back positive for cancer.

CSM has long held a special concern for those in the community who are most vulnerable. Thomas’ story is that mission in action. The thing is: it isn’t anything out of the ordinary. Every day we are touching and changing the lives of people like Thomas.

After 43 days of treatment at the Van Dyke Cancer Center Milwaukee, on May 5th, 2011 Thomas was deemed cancer free. And he’s since become an advocate for early detection. Thomas is now the first to tell his friends and loved ones to get their prostate checked.

“Don’t be afraid to get checked out,” he says. “Without knowing early, this cancer can be devastating.”



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