Patient Donald Williamson Why We Walk

Why we walk: Donald Williamson

Walk for Hope is City of Hope’s largest annual fundraiser to benefit cancer research — and this year it’s going national! Walks will be hosted in Los Angeles, Phoenix, Atlanta, Chicago and Orange County, California or (virtually) in your own community. There are so many reasons to walk — every participant has their own incredibly personal and moving tribute to hope. But the commitment we all share is to one day end cancer for all. Here, our volunteers share their stories about why we walk. 

How many walks have you attended?   

This is the first time Walk for Hope is coming to Atlanta, so I will be a first-time walker this year.   

Patient Donald Williamson
Patient, prostate cancer survivor and volunteer, Donald Williamson

Why do you walk?  

I walk for all my family members who have been touched by cancer and to bring awareness about the importance of early cancer screenings.   

My uncle died of prostate cancer in 2009. Then, in 2018, my dad died of prostate cancer —  that same year, I was diagnosed with the disease, too. I want to raise awareness and encourage other men, especially African American men, to get regular screenings. Early detection is so important if we want to increase our chances of survivorship.   

What’s your connection to City of Hope®?   

As a patient and survivor, my experience with City of Hope has been great. I also serve as a volunteer mentor to other men newly diagnosed. City of Hope has been such an amazing support system for me. Because of that, I support City of Hope in Atlanta as a volunteer by sharing my story more broadly as a part of the Cancer Fighters volunteer group.   

Who will you be walking with this year?   

I’ll be walking by myself this year.   

Where will you be walking?  

I’ll be participating virtually from Atlanta. 

What part of City of Hope’s mission speaks to you?     

The part of the mission that speaks most to me is City of Hope’s commitment to innovative research, hope and compassionate care. I experienced all of these when I was a cancer patient and in my transition to recovery. City of Hope treats the whole person; all my information, my care and treatment are under one roof.   

I also appreciate City of Hope’s commitment to ensuring access and equitable cancer care for all touched by this disease. Knowing that prostate cancer is the second leading cause of death in men and that prostate cancer screening in rural communities is a challenge, it’s great to see that City of Hope is on a mission to bring their world-class cancer care to more people of color. As an African American man and veteran, I was twice as likely to get prostate cancer because of my genetics and other environmental factors. Some men like me aren’t even aware that they can get prostate cancer or know where their prostate is for that matter. If I can join City of Hope in educating other men like me about the importance of early screenings, then I am grateful to be here to do so.  

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