Television and radio personalities are generous about donating their time to emcee charity events. Sometimes it's for a favorite cause, sometimes it's to honor a family member.
For Jim Berry, it's personal. The radio personality is a breast cancer survivor.
As the El Paso County honorary survivor of the Susan B. Komen Race for the Cure on Sept. 8, he shared his story with a ballroom filled with more than 300 others - all women except for Berry and one other man - celebrating everything from one week to 51 years of survivorship at the Breast Cancer Survivors Celebration Luncheon Aug. 10 at the Antlers Hilton hotel.
One year ago Berry discovered a lump on his right breast, almost certainly a pulled muscle, he told himself. Tests, a biopsy, a CT scan, spots on his spine and clavicle and then a mastectomy. It had been stage 4 cancer and he was told he had two years to live. It couldn't be, Berry said. "I'm a guy. Guys don't get breast cancer."
"I gave it all to God," said the 46-year-old father of three daughters and grandfather of one little boy. "I'm a positive, optimistic person."
And he's a survivor.
"God is having me go through all of this, so that I can use my voice to help more people understand, and gain more knowledge about testing for and battling against cancer," Berry said. "My goal is to bring more awareness about testing and catching cancer in its earliest stages, so it can be stopped before it has a chance to metastasize. The first few weeks of sharing my story on the radio, two different women were tested and found lumps. One found it to be benign; the other had a double mastectomy after finding it to be stage 1 breast cancer. If I can continue to hear I was the reason someone was tested, then everything I am doing, and will do, will be worth it."
He'll be at the Race for the Cure in Garden of the Gods (komensecolorado.org) and he's ready to talk about the Big C that isn't a big anything anymore.
Looking out at lots of pink at the luncheon, he said, with emphasis, "Yes, we do get better."
Berry didn't wear a fancy hat for the chapeau competition, leaving that to Komen Executive Director Nancetta Westcott, and didn't walk the runway during the fashion show, but he was happy to emcee it all. Fashions were from Macy's, MDSF Boutique and Brighton.