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Posts Tagged ‘Prostate Cancer’

What Goes Up . . . Hopefully Comes Down!: Word on the Street — September 9th thru September 13th

September 13th, 2013 COMMENTS
What Goes Up...Hopefully Comes Down!: Word on the Street -- September 9th thru September 13th

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Club 815 Powered by The EDPA Foundation Rides Again!

It’s mid-September in Oregon. Right now, there are clear blue skies, 88 degrees, sunny . . . and not a lick of wind in the forecast. Sounds pretty nice huh? And lest I forget to mention, not an ounce of humidity. September is always a banner month in the Pacific Northwest and one of the reason I love living here. I am saying this in hopes it will stay this way for the next two weeks.

In two weeks, a group of friends will be gathering in the Great Northwest, the Columbia River Gorge to be specific. We are gathering to ride for a good friend and colleague once again. And privileged to do so.

Many, if not all of you, know Mike Swartout (our Design Director) and his courageous story. And can easily see why a group of sub-par cyclists feel compelled to go on an 85 mile ride, through 50 mph winds, and up 7000 feet of climbs to raise money for Mike, his lovely wife Janet, and awareness for Prostate Cancer. And just in case you don’t, please follow this link to learn more about Mike and about supporting us on our ride this year.

Charity of Choice

Joining me this year are:

  • Greg “Marathon Man” Garrett
  • Mel “Crash Happy” White
  • Dave “Weird Science” Brown
  • Joel “Grumps” Roy
  • Grant “King Of The Mountain” Murrell
  • And Kevin “White Cheeks” Carty. Don’t ask because I won’t tell

We appreciate any help, even just kind words of encouragement. 🙂 We will be posting via my Twitter account as we ride for those who want to follow the merriment–and pain–along the way. Here are a few photos of our journey from last year.

Hope you all have a great weekend with your family.



Club 815 for Cancer: Word on the Street — June 11th thru June 15th

June 17th, 2012 2 COMMENTS

Riding for One of Our Own

Every year, I embark on a 100 mile bike ride to raise money through the Livestrong Foundation for Cancer Research.

Well, this year I recruited some friends and together we have decided to help one of our own: Mike Swartout, Director of Design at Classic Exhibits Inc. Most know Mike, are friends with Mike, and some even call him family.

This September, employees from Classic Exhibits, Optima Graphics, Creative Dimensions, and Greg Garrett Designs will go the distance for one of their own — literally.

Dave Brown, Kevin Carty, Mel White, Tony Ricci, Betsy Ricci, Greg Garrett, Charlie Shivel, Joel Roy, and others will bike 100 miles (The Century Ride) in Oregon’s Eschelon Gran Fondo of Hood River to raise money for Mike Swartout and his family.

According to Dave Brown, VP of Sales at Optima Graphics, “Mike has been there to help Optima and its customers many times over the years so when Kevin suggested we do this ride to raise money for Mike’s family, we immediately said yes.”

I am approaching my 12-year cancer-free anniversary next month, and in that time I have been very impressed with Mike’s selflessness, courage, and attitude since his terminal diagnosis.

Unfortunately, I have known too many people who have been affected by cancer, but none have personally moved me quite like Mike. He decided, very early on, to become a research patient after his diagnosis of Advanced Stage 4 Prostate Cancer. He was not going to sit back and just take it. He wanted to do something for others.

Since his diagnosis, Mike has opted to undergo countless experimental treatments. Treatments that are solely intended to benefit people diagnosed with this dreaded disease in the future.

Optima Graphics, Classic Exhibits, Creative Dimensions, and Greg Garrett Designs certainly have a great working partnership, but within our companies, the relationships run much deeper. We are friends. So, when thinking about participating in this event, I naturally wanted to take the challenge with my friends and Mike’s.

EDPA Foundation

Special thanks to The EDPA Foundation! Dave Walens and Jeff Provost stepped in right away and allowed us to raise money through the foundation for Mike, thus allowing any and all donations to be fully tax deductible for individuals and businesses.

Visit our team’s page to learn how to donate to Mike’s family and how to help alleviate the severe financial hardship they are experiencing. In particular, Mike does not have life insurance which is a future hardship for his lovely wife Janet.

Mike is a huge proponent of men having regular prostate exams; prevention and early detection are the keys.

The team, “Club 815, Powered by The EDPA Foundation” will ride on September 22, 2012. If you are interested in riding with us, email me and I will send you all the information (  There is a 30 mile, 80 mile, or 100 mile ride. So take the challenge . . . I dare ya! 🙂

Please consider supporting us. We would appreciate it.

Hope you all have a great weekend and be well.

–Kevin Carty

The Industry Gives Back: Word on the Street — Oct. 10th thru Oct. 14th

October 16th, 2011 4 COMMENTS
Randy Smith Memorial Golf Follow Up

Word on the Street by Kevin Carty

Randy Smith Memorial Golf Classic Follow Up

On Monday, October 10, hundreds of industry professionals gathered in Atlanta to honor those who are either going through medical hardships, lost their battles, or lost loved ones to sickness or accidents.

Like in past years, it proved to be a highly emotionally-charged event. And this year Classic Exhibits had one of their own honored, Mike Swartout, our Director of Design, who is currently battling stage 4 prostate cancer.

Mike, along with several others, were honored and ultimately helped financially through the funds raised before and during the event. And a lot of money was raised even during these uncertain economic times. The truly inspirational work that Rich Johnson, Jim Wurm, and Ted Peterson do on behalf of others never ceases to amaze me. Thanks again guys.

Mike Swartout at Randy Smith

Mike Swartout at Randy Smith

One of the highlights of the day-long event was when Mike spoke during the banquet. A perfect blend of comedy, reality, and emotion. He set the crowd at ease regarding his situation through his words. Mike has allowed me to post his speech, which I hope you will read.

Since my diagnosis, I’m continually amazed by the support I have received:  from medical teams, family, friends, co-workers, recently a stranger on the bus, and from many, such as yourselves, who do not even know me.

Thank you.

Unless you’ve been in similar shoes, and I suspect some of you have, my words can’t convey what it means to be able to draw on others strength during a “scary scary” at 2:30 am.

Huge thanks to Kevin Carty and Mel White at Classic Exhibits for their compassion and Kevin’s personal understanding of this cowardly disease.

Those of you who run a business and/or manage people know what happens when a critical employee is bouncing between their desk and appointments like a BB in a boxcar.

Somehow Kevin and Mel have managed to make it work. Heck, just recently I’ve been unable to drive and Mel picks me up at the train stop in the morning.

A little background . . . 28 months ago, I was being treated for suspicious back pain. 26 months ago, I made another appointment and was informed that my medical professional was no longer with the clinic. They assigned me someone new. Thank God.

August 4 — I remember that day clearly. It was an early morning appointment and before my wife Janet and I could get back home, we got a call from the Dr. It was a call to come back at three. At 3:40, I know because for some reason I was looking at the Doc’s watch, I was informed about this marker, that marker, and a PSA of 2640. A normal PSA is 1-5.

Angry, scared, and questioning, I went through a whirlwind of scary tests including a biopsy I wouldn’t wish on, if I had one, my worst enemy. Janet and I were confused and clueless. Not states we are used to.

Fortunately, I had support [there’s that word again]: friends, family, and co-workers who shored me up with hasty sandbags even though none of us knew for sure how high the proverbial flood water would rise.

That support bought me breathing room to remember a promise I’d made to myself. If I was ever to get sick, the going to the doctor can’t make you well kind of sick, I wouldn’t let the sickness go to waste.

As I stand here, this very moment, the insidious disease, cancer, is chewing away at my bones. But there are also some jacked up white blood cells having a say about that, thanks to cutting-edge research being done at the Providence Cancer Center in Portland. Those cells are working really hard at slowing the cancer bugs. Heck, why waste good cancer cells.

As I stand here, I hope someone who is scared beyond belief, just like me, has found my blog and the silly stories I tell. I hope it amuses them and takes some of the “scary scary” away. Why waste my scary scary.

Ladies, now you get to see your men squirm in their seats as I get on my soap box. Men get that digital exam, now. Digital means finger, index finger [told you they’d squirm]. It takes thirty seconds. If it takes longer than thirty seconds, consider getting a new doctor.

And, I don’t care what medical group or panel says about PSA tests. If you are of an age or have a family history with this disease, have the test. It is just a silly blood test. Armed with the results you can then make an informed and timely decision.

Lastly, I’m continually told I’m too young for this particular version of cancer. Whatever your age, prepare for your family.

Hopefully, these small things will support someone in the future. Selfishly for me, these small things provide a reason for having this unreasonable disease.

I hope and pray that nothing like this happens to you and yours. But I’m thankful knowing you are out there for those of us who do.

Thanks!  — Mike Swartout

One element that Mike did not really touch on, but that I want to mention is the experimental treatments Mike has been undergoing. These treatments are less about Mike and more about research for future patients. Some of the knowledge being gained through the trials will continue to be used on new patients, giving hope to many in the future. As a twelve-year survivor myself and someone who benefited from the trials of others, I can speak to the profound nature of what Mike is doing on behalf of those he does not even know. I was given a regimen at the time that was not even known two years prior, one that provided me a better opportunity of beating cancer.


Lastly, I always love this event for providing an opportunity to see and spend time with great friends in the industry. More than just work friends. Life friends.

For those of you who missed the event, please mark your calendar for next year. It really is the one event each year that truly makes you appreciate the quality of the people we all work with each day.

I hope you had a great weekend and coming work week.

Be well!

–Kevin Carty