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Island of Hope: Honorary survivor doesn't consider himself a hero

by jmaloni
Fri, May 4th 2012 03:45 pm

by Larry Austin

Nothing bothers Frank Brusino.

If jumping out of an airplane, something the 81-year-old Islander has done 103 times - as recently as last year in China - doesn't bother him, a diagnosis of cancer won't either.

Brusino was named honorary survivor for this year's Relay For Life, a benefit for the American Cancer Society. Though he spent 54 years in uniform serving his country in the U.S. Army, reaching the rank of brigadier general and leading special forces, and he overcame prostate cancer in 2000, he refuses to be called a hero.

"It's just like the Army. I've got a chestful of medals, but I'm not a hero," he said. "The kids that are in Roswell right now, the women who are surviving breast cancer, they're my heroes."

His brush with cancer began in 2000 when a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test suggested a need for follow-up tests. Doctors implanted a radioactive seed in his prostate, called brachytherapy, and he's been good to go ever since.

His message to other men is: find a good doctor and stick with him; and, for women, insist that your man goes for regular prostate exams. Above all, never be afraid to see a doctor for the regular checkups like the one that helped save his life.

"I'm fazed, but I'm the kind of a guy who doesn't get shook," he said of his personal cancer diagnosis. "I jumped out of too many airplanes to be shook."

The Grand Island Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society will take place June 8 and 9 at the Grand Island High School track.

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