My father, John Tomasini, Sr. is a 2-time breast cancer survivor and my hero. We had no idea that men could get breast cancer when he was diagnosed in 1994 at age 52. A lump on his right breast turned out to be a tumor. He had a mastectomy on the right side and was treated with medication. Just three years later, at age 55, he was diagnosed with breast cancer for a 2nd time – this time a doctor found a tumor on the left breast while doing a routine exam. He had a mastectomy of the left breast and this time underwent several weeks of chemotherapy. Just after that time, when he was in remission, we learned about the breast cancer gene. Sadly, even though we didn’t know men could get breast cancer, my family was no stranger to the disease. My dad’s two sisters, my aunts, had lost their battle with breast cancer in their early 40’s. My dad was tested for BRCA 1 and 2 and the test confirmed that he was a BRCA 2 mutation carrier. Through genetic counselors and tracing our family history, we learned that the gene must have was passed to my dad from his own father, my grandfather. This knowledge has been a powerful tool that has helped shape the future health of our family thanks to my dad and his bravery leading the way.

Today, my dad is a healthy 75-year-old grandfather of 6 grandchildren living the retired life of fishing, long walks, bike rides, and reading. He’s still my hero.

Wendy Bailey is the Executive Producer of Great Day Washington at WUSA9.

Watch Great Day Washington all month long as we celebrate and honor survivors of breast cancer & their families.