Councilman a cancer survivor

Just before Christmas 2011, a newly elected member of Tiffin City Council went to his doctor to get a check up, and receive his regular Prostate-Specific Antigen test.

His results were very elevated, the doctor said, and it eventually was discovered that Councilman Jim Roberts had prostate cancer.

“It just really wipes you out, no matter how much you think you’re prepared for things and how mature you are,” Roberts said. “It just wipes you out.”

His diagnosis came shortly after his election as the councilman for Tiffin’s First Ward, and he was about to take office in January 2012.

“Everything’s great, you know, I’m starting a new life,” he said. “This is great, I’ve got a sound board for all these great ideas I have. And boom. It’s just like a Mack truck hit me crossing the street. All of a sudden, you don’t worry about that. You worry about ‘Am I going to make it?'”

During the first six months in office, he said he felt tired during meetings, and he did not feel like he contributed to council as much as he wanted to.

“I was just worn out from everything going on,” said Roberts, who served as Seneca County Sherriff in the late 1970s.

Last year, after he finished his treatment, Roberts participated in Relay For Life events and walked the survivors lap.

“You see the people there you know and you think, ‘My lord, they were fighting the same way I have been.’ It puts a whole new meaning to it,” he said. “You see all these people out there. I just wish more people would go out there and realize it’s a celebration. There’s nothing morbid, it’s a celebration.”

Roberts said he saw two young children at the Relay For Life Birthday Bash, which took place earlier this week.

“When you see what they’re struggling with and how they’re meeting it, it just kind of gives you a little faith and a little kick in the butt you might need,” he said. “If you’re feeling sorry for yourself, you’ve got to look back and look at the good life you’ve had, and here’s these youngsters struggling to have a life.”

“You see people who have been touched by cancer in this community, and people who haven’t been touched by cancer but realize how important it is to beat this,” he said. “Little kids are fighting and struggling with it. You realize, we’ve got to knock it out.”

The Relay For Life fundraiser begins tonight at Hedges-Boyer Park.

Roberts said it is very important to spread awareness about prostate and colon cancer, and he encouraged men to get regular check ups.

“They just shy away from that; that’s just not a natural thing to get examined for,” he said. “We’ve got to get you trained on this, to get your exam. That’s macho to go and get your exam, to worry about your family and protect your family.”

He said he has two sons in their 40s, and he has encouraged them to get exams regularly.

“You feel unfortunate that you wind up with cancer, but I feel very, very fortunate that they caught it when they did,” Roberts said.

Roberts said all of his treatment was done locally, and he said the Mercy Tiffin Hospital staff was excellent and helped him through his treatment and recovery.

“I can’t say enough about the cancer center out here at Mercy Hospital,” he said. “They made you feel like the most valuable person in the world.”

He said the staff at the hospital helped him stay positive, which he said is very important when fighting cancer.

“This isn’t the first battle you’ve faced,” Roberts said. “You’re going to come out okay, and you’re going to win the war. Everyone loses a few battles in their life, but if you win the war that’s the main thing.”