HAWORTH, N.J.– Dave Dubin doesn't have the luxury of indulging in self pity or taking a passive approach to life.
The 48-year-old Haworth resident and father of three has Lynch Syndrome and is a three-time cancer survivor who plans on staying "AliveAndKickn," and coined a foundation by the same name.
Originally founded as a blog to keep him sane while undergoing treatments, AliveAndKickN aims to raise awareness of Lynch Syndrome and associated cancers.
"Statistically 1 in 440 Americans have Lynch syndrome; 95 percent don't know about it," Dubin said.
Lynch syndrome is caused by a genetic mutation that increases a person’s risk for certain cancers.
His oldest son, 20, also has the mutation and has an 80 percent chance of getting cancer at a young age. His other sons, ages 16 and 12, haven't yet been tested, he said.
"Knowing what you’re up against is half the battle,” he said. “My boys know I’m a survivor.”
Having the genetics means early and frequent testing. “We have parts removed every year but we continue with our lives," he said, referring to his father and brother, both of whom are colon cancer survivors.
His grandfather, too, survived colon cancer and lived into his 90s. His father is in his 80s and his brother, in his 50s.
“We became good at surviving this.”
The former Haworth councilman was first diagnosed in 1997 when he was 29. “It wasn’t an out and out shock considering the family history.”
When colon cancer returned in 2007, he had genetic testing done. “It was officially determined that I had the gene mutation.”
The name AliveAndKickN comes from his love of soccer, a game he continues to play and coach.
Born in Brooklyn, he played high school soccer in Clearwater, Fla. and for Tulane University where he met his future wife, Robin, from Suffern, N.Y. They got married and moved to Haworth 21 years ago.
Now the goal is expanding the registry, he said. The HEROiC Registry is a patient-centric genetic database, the first of its kind for Lynch syndrome. It enables patients to take part in advancing research by contributing medical information as well their experiences living with Lynch Syndrome and its associated cancers.
Researchers can use the data to develop new treatments and better understand the various mutations. The registry also allows patients to control who sees their data.
Aside from AliveAndKickN, Dubin's an ardent advocate in education and prevention and works in the field as Director of Sales, Genetics and Genomics at Mt. Sinai Hospital.
He was Mr. January in the 2012 Colondar, Sapphire Visionary Award winner by the Colon Cancer Alliance in 2013, and host/emcee for the Prevent Cancer webcast “Knowing your family history.”