So it all started when I was 4 years old, my father past away from cancer. He had bone cancer which after a couple reoccurrences, spread to his lungs. He was 32 years old. It was tough growing up without a father figure but my mom did a fantastic job raising myself and my 2 siblings on her own. We are a very close family and my uncles did what they could to fill that void.
A few years ago I started team M.A.P. after my father (Marc Andre Payette) to just try and do my part to help the cause and find a cure. I put together a team of about 20 people and on the back of our shirts we put the names of everyone we were walking for who was either battling cancer or has passed from it. The following year I had noticed a lump below my ear at the corner of my jaw that continued growing over time. I went to the doctor and twice he told me it was nothing and then finally I went to a specialist on my own. The specialist said it was most likely benign, but wanted to remove it anyway. I had the operation, went back the following week on my birthday for a check-up and that’s when they told me that it was cancer. At this point I already had the surgery to remove the mass but, had to undergo treatment to ensure that it didn't spread and all the cancer cells were dead or gone.
It was very surreal to get that diagnosis, especially after so many people telling me that it was nothing. This is a perfect case in which only you know your own body and when something doesn't seem or feel right, go get it checked out. It made it a lot easier to have the support of my wife, family and friends from start to finish. I had just finished my radiation treatments before the 2011 walk. That year we had almost 80 walkers on team M.A.P. and raised over $10,000. Our team has been successful because it is made up of a lot of very generous people who have either been diagnosed themselves, close to someone who has or just have the incredible drive to do what they can to help in this cause. We usually raise money just by general donations but this year, my brother Andrew, friend Tim and myself have put together a great golf tournament with all proceeds going to the UMass Medicine Cancer walk.
This walk is important to me because not only has it affected me personally and my family but this is where I was treated. This is where I went through the physical, mental and emotional struggles of being diagnosed all the way to the follow-ups. Right now, I have been cancer free for 20 months and I owe that to the UMass Cancer Center. So that’s why this event is important to me and that’s why Team M.A.P. is back for its 4th year.
Scott Payette (Team M.A.P)