116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
AMES — Jamie Pollard considers transparency to be one of his distinguishing traits.
But when Iowa State’s longtime Director of Athletics was diagnosed recently with testicular cancer, he wrestled with whether or not he should share the news publicly.
He ultimately decided to do so — and explained why in a letter to Cyclones fans posted Wednesday on his department’s website.
“I debated sharing this information widely to avoid my diagnosis being a distraction to our athletics program,” Pollard wrote in the letter. “However, the reality of hiding the news has also been stressful.
“Last week, I was scheduled to speak to more than 500 individuals in Benton Auditorium, a commitment made months ago. Regrettably, I had to miss my appearance on very short notice (due to surgery) and it was disheartening to be unable to share the real reason for my cancellation.”
Pollard said he strives to use his high-profile position as a “platform” to help others when they’re facing difficult times. It’s why he publicly shared information regarding his open-heart surgery in 2015.
“It allowed me to encourage others battling similar heart issues,” Pollard wrote. “By sharing some details of my cancer diagnosis and treatment plan, I can emphasize the critical importance of early detection as it relates to cancer survival rates.”
Pollard said he underwent surgery last Tuesday and the cancer was detected shortly thereafter.
He added he and his wife, Ellen, will be meeting with an oncologist on Friday to discuss treatment options.
“I hope that I have limited the extent of my cancer through early detection and treatment,” Pollard wrote. “I am grateful for the doctors and medical providers here in Ames, who have been incredibly accessible and responsive to my case. Furthermore, my loving, and faithful family and a few co-workers and friends who knew of my condition have been incredibly supportive and encouraging the past several days.”
Pollard said it also was important to publicly thank Ellen for her love and support.
“It is one thing for me to deal with the professional/personal boundaries, Ellen has had to deal with those same boundaries countless times, both as a mother and wife,” Pollard said. “It takes a really strong and special person to navigate that landscape. In closing, I feel blessed to know the cancer has not spread and am ready to follow what my medical team feels is the best course of treatment. As (Head Football) Coach (Matt) Campbell likes to say, ‘Trust the Process.’ That's exactly what I'm going to do.”