DENVER -- Back in June, play-by-play broadcaster Jack Corrigan let Rockies fans know why he's thankful. More importantly, he hasn't stopped.
Before a Father's Day game in Miami, Corrigan arranged for broadcast partner Jerry Schemmel to interview him on the Rockies Radio Network and Corrigan revealed that he was battling prostate cancer. But it was an uplifting interview because Corrigan was letting the world know his prognosis was good because he caught it early. Root Sports reporter Jenny Cavnar also brought Corrigan's diagnosis and progress to light.
At game's end, and at the end of every one of his broadcasts for the rest of the season, Corrigan signed off by reminding men that if they have their checkups and take care of their health, they too will be thankful if symptoms are caught early. Corrigan is doing fine after two cutting-edge procedures -- one at the All-Star break, the other after the season -- performed by Dr. E. David Crawford, a renowned urology surgeon at University of Colorado Health.
"After this happened, I think I had more enjoyment, more fun, coming to the ballpark every day," Corrigan said. "I'm always positive that I'm going to the ballpark, anyway. But it was like I was enjoying it more. I'm fortunate that I have, hopefully, a lot of good years ahead of me doing the best job in the world."
And as long as Corrigan has his opportunity behind the microphone, part of that job will be to raise awareness for a disease that can be controlled if it is addressed by the men it affects. It's also a cause that is under-emphasized. As Corrigan noted, prostate cancer can affect in 1-of-7 men overall and 1-in-4 African-Americans, yet research efforts receive about one-seventh the money of the battle against breast cancer, which affects mostly women.
Crawford performed a mapping biopsy during the All-Star break, and on Oct. 4, he performed a cryo-surgical ablation, which was "essentially using needles to freeze the cancerous cells to take them out," Crawford said. Corrigan said Crawford told him if there are cancerous cells out, they're minimal in number. The key, Corrigan reminded, is to prevent cancerous cells from spreading.
Corrigan said keys are knowing health checks and risks. In his case, his mother had breast cancer and his father dealt with prostate cancer. Research indicates that there may be genetic links between breast and prostate cancer, Corrigan noted. But if detected and treated in time, prostate cancer can be a controllable condition, like diabetes.
The cancer was discovered at the end of January, and roughly eight months later Corrigan said he has a positive outlook.
"When someone drops the 'C' word on you, it's going to have an impact," Corrigan said. "Based on cancer in the various forms out there, that's why people would come up to me and say, 'How are you doing?' They were thinking I must have been my deathbed and going through chemo. It does make your heart skip a beat.
So Corrigan picked Father's Day -- when MLB outfits its teams and players in baby blue-themed uniforms and accessories, and devotes the day to promoting awareness -- to begin his campaign. Corrigan's 2017 goal is to team with the Rockies and local media for a special offseason event to raise funds and awareness. But Corrigan is using his platform in ways to that don't cost anything but some time on the air.
Whether he is reciting the happy result after a Rockies victory or a better-luck-next-time score, Corrigan reminds the audience that addressing a potentially serious health issue is what's important.
"At the end of the game that Sunday afternoon on Father's Day was the first time I did the little 'Embrace the Challenge' comment at the end of the broadcast, and then the goodbye," Corrigan said. "Every broadcast, the last thing I do before saying goodbye is encourage, prod -- whatever verb you want to use -- men to take time to get your checkups. Together, let's 'Embrace the Challenge.' Together we can conquer prostate cancer."