A man in a superhero costume looks out towards the sky.

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's Superdad

Lights, camera, action! "Black Panther," "Spiderman," "Batman," "Captain America," and "Hulk" take center stage in their own movie. Each of these characters are heroes in their own rights. They solve crime and save the people in their cities and villages.

Another commonality with these characters is that they each have a sidekick or best friend that helps them along the way. "Black Panther" has T’Challa, "Batman" has Robin, "Captain America" has Bucky Barnes, "Spiderman" has Andy Maguire, and the "Hulk" has Rick Jones.

Celebrating our superhero loved ones

Every year in the month of June we celebrate the men in our lives for Father’s Day. Dads, grandfathers, uncles, cousins, brothers, and sons are celebrated for being the superheroes they are.

The month of June is truly symbolic for a much-deserving man. June 20th is the longest day of the year for us, and the month is the midpoint of the growing season between planting and harvesting. The month of June is also known as one of the most popular months to get married.

Wives, daughters, sisters, aunts, and cousins are all the sidekicks and best friends to these superheroes. Women have the innate spirit to be nurturing and caring. I think men, on the other hand, are more of the rational and practical thinkers. Many men, including my dad, believed that a doctor’s visit could mean a diagnosis or something bad happening. As long as they (men) didn’t know, they felt it couldn’t hurt them.

What you don't know can hurt you

On the contrary, what you do not know can hurt you. I learned that the hard way when my dad dropped ill suddenly and was rushed to the hospital. The doctor’s visits he missed going to would have given us (the sidekicks and best friend) the opportunity to know that prostate cancer was existent and spreading (which is the reason he fell ill).

My dad has always been my superhero. I believed he wore an invisible cape that we just couldn’t see, but it was really there. I thought my superhero (my dad) was immortal and invincible. That was, until his prostate cancer diagnosis. In that moment, time seemed to stand still.

My dad's fight with prostate cancer

My mom was my dad’s best friend, but I was surely his sidekick. I watched my dad lose an abundance of weight. I watched his strength weaken. I watched his taste buds change. I watched his normally high energy deplete. Nonetheless, when asked how he was feeling on any given day, my superhero’s response was always the same: “I’m feeling pretty good”, dad would say, even though it was evident that he was not feeling his best.

One of the greatest things about a superhero is they do not allow others to see them in distress. They move forward. They persevere. They conquer whatever the task is at hand.

He still watches over me

I visit my dad’s gravesite often. As I stand over his tombstone, I look up in the sky. Birds and airplanes fly over my head as some sort of sign that my superhero’s (dad’s) presence continues to watch over me.

Whether it's January, December, or any month in between, be sure to encourage and implore the superhero in your life to get screened and stay on top of their health.

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