Upstate man who overcame breast cancer has message for dads this Father’s Day


(WSPA) – In a year like we’ve had, special dates can get overlooked. So here’s a friendly reminder that Father’s Day is this Sunday.

It’s a day that takes on extra meaning for an Upstate father and grandfather, who is now a breast cancer survivor.

Ronald Shockely from Liberty wouldn’t be the first man who resisted going to the doctor.

“I knew the lump was there, I put it off for a year, listened to my wife fuss, you know, ‘please go get it checked,'” said Shockley.

And it wasn’t like that checkup would have been out of the way. Shockley works as an electrician at Bon Secours Saint Francis.

But let’s be honest: “No one ever wants to hear the word cancer,” admitted Shockley.

That is especially so when the diagnosis is male breast cancer.

But if you have to get the news from someone, it’s best to hear it from a friend.

“Before Ronald was diagnosed, he had always been such a kind, sweet-hearted tender gentleman to always work with. Always very compassionate about what we do, and what has surprised me the most is how passionate he has become about getting this story out about men,” said Becky Steele, a Radiological Technologist at Bon Secours.

Steele started working closely with Shockley when she oversaw the 2011 construction of the Pearlie Harris Center for Breast Health.

“I actually had done the electrical work on Pearlie Harris when it was built and never dreamed when I was doing the job that I would actually end up being a patient,” Shockley said.

Now, with a mastectomy and chemo behind him, Shockley has volunteered to be a male model in the upcoming fundraiser this fall for the center.

It turns out cancer is not new to the men in Shockley’s family. Ronald lost his father and two uncles to cancer decades ago.

Father’s day has always meant a lot to Shockley, but this year will be an all- out celebration for the gift of more time with his kids and grandkids.

“This is our first vacation since getting the news of having breast cancer, so everybody’s looking forward to it,” said Shockley.

The Pearls And Pumps fundraiser is held every year in October.

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