ELYRIA — Ed Doehne is a 60-mile man, and he’s proud of it.
So proud, in fact, that he took off most of his clothes and posed for Mr. June 2012 on top of the Terminal Tower in Cleveland for a calendar that supports a cure for breast cancer.
In the skyline shot, Doehne holds a black and white photograph taken of himself and his wife, Tara, in Cascade Park after she underwent chemotherapy for breast cancer.
Both have bare noggins, and their love is palpable as he kisses her forehead.
“The survival rate for stage III breast cancer is 56 percent,” Doehne said. “The doctors basically tell us that the treatment and surgery they are doing are to try to get her to five years.”
For the time being, Tara Doehne is cancer-free.
Every six months, her blood is drawn, and the couple and their daughters Alyson, 17, and Jaclyn, 15, hold their collective breaths that the cancer hasn’t recurred. Fortunately for her daughters, Tara Doehne has had genetic testing showing she is not a carrier of the breast cancer gene.
Ed Doehne, a building and plumbing inspector for the city of Elyria, said he couldn’t be prouder to pose.
Both he and his wife shed pounds after eating healthier and exercising following Tara’s diagnosis on June 4, 2009.
They’ve taken part in two Breast Cancer 3-Day walks in which participants walk up to 20 miles a day over three days and collect pledge money targeted for breast cancer research. Tara completed 46 of the 60 miles her first walk and 56 of the 60 miles her second time around. They are doing another walk this year in Cleveland.
The net proceeds of the calendar, which is distributed by 60-Mile Men Inc., a Michigan-based nonprofit corporation, are donated to Breast Cancer 3-Day in the names of the 12 men that posed.
Bruce Bishop, chief photographer for The Chronicle-Telegram and owner of Bishop Photography, snapped the shot on the 44th floor of the Terminal Tower that made Doehne a calendar boy.
Bishop said Doehne was a real trouper to pose in his underwear on a very cold day.
“It was 14 degrees on the ground level,” Bishop said. “It was hilarious.”
In the photograph, Doehne is sporting a fresh tattoo with a pink ribbon and the words “Tara’s Journey.”
That was the name of his wife’s blog on Caringbridge.org, which has attracted 23,200 visits over two years.
In addition to taking part in the calendar, Doehne was tapped last month as one of eight “Pink Tie Guys” for 2011 who were given pink ties to wear at functions by the Northeast Ohio affiliate of the Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
Eight people in the public spotlight are chosen to wear the ties to represent the one in eight women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetimes.
The couple’s eldest daughter, Alyson, said her parents, who were sweethearts at Elyria High School in the late 1980s, are inspirational.
“They are very, very awesome,” said Alyson, who will be a senior this fall at Midview High School.
“I think it’s fabulous that he can be a good example for me and my sister by turning a negative situation into a positive,” she said.
While talking about his efforts, Ed Doehne remained overwhelmingly upbeat.
But tears welled in his eyes when he recalled the scariest moment of his wife’s cancer ordeal.
Her chemotherapy was very difficult and she had to have an emergency appendectomy the day before her second chemo treatment.
After chemotherapy, the body is totally exhausted, and Doehne said he had to carry his wife to their bedroom, where she remained for four days.
“You could see the life leave her eyes — there was nothing there,” Doehne said.
Tara Doehne remembers that time as well, and it also brings a lump to her throat.
“It’s kind of like going away for a while — you go into a zone,” she said.
Want a 60-mile calendar?
Visit www.tarasjourney.org to purchase one of the calendars, which cost $20. You also can check out Ed Doehne at the all-male car wash revue 1 to 4 p.m. June 18 followed by a bowling fundraiser 5 to 9 p.m. at Yorktown Lanes, 6218 Pearl Road, Parma Heights. The 60-mile calendars also will be available during the event.
Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or firstname.lastname@example.org.