Diagnosed with cancer on February 10, 2003 at the age of 64, Jerry Parins embarked on a journey that would no doubt change his life.
Throughout the surgery and two grueling battles with chemotherapy, which lasted nearly a year, Parins, like many cancer patients, found it difficult to keep a positive frame of mind. With the unwavering support of his family, friends and co-workers, Parins put cancer behind him and continues to stay one step ahead of the disease that has affected millions of families worldwide in one way or another.
A former captain of internal affairs for the Green Bay Police Department, Parins retired from his post in 1992 to assume the role of director of corporate security for the Green Bay Packers.
His 40-year association with the team began in 1965 under head coach Vince Lombardi, who contacted the Green Bay Police Department looking for help keeping fans off the practice field. Parins, then 24, volunteered his time by working practices, gamedays and assisting in the Packers weight room.
Today, Parins is volunteering his time for a different cause.
Continuing a love affair with motorcycles that began at an early age and continued throughout his career as a police officer, Parins, just 16 months after being diagnosed with cancer, coordinated the first annual 'Jerry Parins Cruise for Cancer.' The 120-mile motorcycle ride raises money for various cancer-related organizations, many of which he encountered during his treatment at St. Vincent's Hospital in Green Bay.
In 2004, the first 'Cruise for Cancer,' which stemmed from Parins' longtime involvement with rides benefiting the Muscular Dystrophy Association, raised nearly $40,000 for cancer patients.
"What I've learned over the last 25 months or so is that I wanted to help people," Parins said, "because a lot of people aren't as lucky as I am. Some of them have to battle even more than I did, and thank God I was able to afford it and all I went through was the pain and hurt that cancer brings you."
"So many people rallied behind me and that just keeps you going. But some people have to deal with financial matters on top of what they've going through physically and emotionally, and if this ride can help alleviate some of that pressure, then it's already a huge success."
Eternally grateful to everyone involved in making the 'Cruise' a huge success, Parins says he doesn't know where to start when it comes to saying, 'Thank you.'
"All of the people that help with this ride are just tremendous people," he says. "There are so many involved that I can't even begin to name names. But, if Mother Nature cooperates, hopefully this year's ride will be an even greater success than last year and will continue to grow each and every year."