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We are a drop-in support group for those whose mates, girlfriends, mothers, daughters or sisters have or had breast cancer or other potentially lethal diseases.

"Women, of course, are the ones whose lives are being threatened. It's natural they get the biggest share of attention and sympathy," a group member once noted. He sighed heavily, then added: "But I would like just a little bit of those things."

Through the good times and bad, most men loathe the stepchild-status these diseases give them. But the marvelous synergy of our Marin Man to Man group often acts as an antidote to that particular toxin.

Our fellowship stems from us all paddling to keep the same boat afloat. And from frequent laughter. We can't care less if what we say is clichéd, trite, hackneyed. The conversations themselves lift us, for the most part. And we generally know pretty much where one another's head is.

"We don't talk about it much but there's pride in our very existence — especially since there's so damned little support for male caregivers anywhere on the planet," another guy once noted.

Founder Bill Bowersock's wife had realized he, too, needed support. And he was smart enough to see his needs were not unique. So he called a couple of other fellows he knew whose wives were breast-cancer patients. Voila! The group was born in 1993.

Our dues-free meetings draw male caregivers who choose to shed their machismo, to voice their fears in a friendly, confidential atmosphere.

Members of Marin Man to Man prefer chatting about mundane, non-disease subjects. We've been known to gab about fix-it projects and auto repairs, weather, computers, the size of mosquitoes, vacations, buffets, politics, dogs, motorcycles, death (yes, some of the members’ partners have died), religion, five-legged cows, and jobs. Contrary to ordinary men's groups, perhaps, sports rarely makes it onto our agenda.

But anything about breast cancer or another life-threatening disease, of course, is always Topic A whenever anyone needs or wants to talk about it.


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