Rockers will regroup to play for cancer-stricken friend SanTan Sun News

Rockers will regroup to play for cancer-stricken friend

June 8th, 2017 | by SanTan Sun News
Rockers will regroup to play for cancer-stricken friend
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By Wayne Schutsky

Several rock bands will jam for a cause on June 10, when they reunite at Mesa’s historic Nile Theater to spread prostate cancer awareness and support Chandler resident Chris Caminiti, who was diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer at the age of 46.

The lineup for the event includes 1980s hair metal bands Teazer and Cry Wolf, along with local 1990s outfits Wired to Pluto and Cason. Caminiti was a member of each group in the past. Metal act Black Curtain will fill out the bill.

Fans and supporters will also use the event to celebrate Caminiti’s birthday and give him the opportunity to play his final show as a drummer. Proceeds from the event will go toward Caminiti’s medical bills and other costs associated with his diagnosis.

For Caminiti and his wife, Lori, the event is not just about raising money. The couple is also focusing their efforts on educating the public about prostate cancer and encouraging men to get tested for the disease.

“Men, you have to be your own health advocate,” Chris wrote in an email. “Ask questions and demand to be screened for prostate cancer even if you are under the age of 50. I wish I would have. Prostate cancer is 100 percent curable if detected early. No one should die from this horrible disease.”

Prostate cancer grows slowly, and successful treatment is more likely if the disease is caught early, according to Mayo Clinic.

“(Our goal is) for every man 35 years old and up to get a PSA test and to get their prostate exam,” Lori said.

A PSA test, also known as a prostate-specific antigen blood test, involves checking the PSA levels in a patient’s blood. Another common test is a DRE, or digital rectal exam, in which a doctor physically examines the prostate.

Neither test is 100 percent accurate. A PSA test detected Chris’ cancer after a DRE test initially failed to identify the disease, Lori said.

Chris actually had symptoms for five years before his diagnosis, Lori said. At one point, doctors thought he was suffering from sciatic nerve pain. He was later diagnosed with stage 4 prostate cancer that metastasized to his sacrum, lymph nodes, bladder and femur.

Soon after his diagnosis, Chris told his wife he wanted to share his story with others in hopes of inspiring other men to get tested. The couple soon began sharing his journey on Facebook.

“The second day in the hospital, he said he wanted to be transparent, and he said that if we can save one man’s life, it will be worth it,” Lori said.

Event organizers will hand out certificates for free prostate cancer screenings courtesy of Prostate On-Site Project, also known as POP. The Mesa-based organization provides free and low-cost mobile prostate cancer screenings throughout the year in Arizona, POP CEO Marla Zimmerman said.

Also in Chandler, prostate cancer screens for men 40 years old and older (or younger if there is a history of prostate cancer in the family) are being provided from 7 a.m. to noon June 13 in the parking lot across from Chandler City Hall at 250 E. Chicago St. An appointment is required.

Provided by the Prostate On-Site Project, a medical mobile service, the screening includes a non-fasting, prostate-specific antigen blood test, digital rectal exam, testicular exam and physician consultation by a board-certified urologist. To make an appointment, call 480-964-3013 or 800-828-6139.

“We feel extremely saddened for Chris, and he is trying to spread the word of the importance of early detection, so we felt this was (a) good opportunity to promote that by offering free screenings,” Zimmerman said.

The Caminiti family has set up a GoFundMe page to help raise funds to cover medical expenses. Chris, a professional photographer, is offering a photo shoot to all individuals who donate $50 or more. Despite his cancer battle, he has not lost his sense of humor, as evidenced by a statement on the GoFundMe page that “this offer will expire when he does.”

In addition to the musical lineup, the fundraiser will feature a talk by former Chicago Bears cornerback Todd McMillon, a Valley resident and prostate cancer survivor.

Tickets to the benefit concert cost $5 and can be bought on the Nile Theater’s website at niletheater.com or purchased at the door of the business, which is at 105 W. Main St. in Mesa. Donations can be made at gofundme.com/prayforchristopher.

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