A survivor of testicular cancer and devoted men’s health advocate, Jeff Ber is the epitome of strength and courage. Not only did his battle with cancer provide him with a renewed sense of adventure, but also a sense of purpose. As a terminal diagnosis survivor, he feels it is his responsibility to help educate others on testicular cancer and end the stigma surrounding men’s health. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, roughly 1,150 Canadian men will be diagnosed with testicular cancer this year, and approximately 35 will die from the disease. However, with an early cancer diagnosis, patients have an increased chance of survival, which is why Jeff Ber started the OneBall Charitable Cancer Organization. Using his personal story to guide and uplift others, OneBall helps raise awareness of testicular cancer, fund life-altering research, and provide meaningful assistance to cancer patients. Thanks to the organization’s online community, patients can transform their cancer experience by sharing their journeys and providing emotional and social support to those who need it most.
Before cancer changed the course of his life, Jeff Ber had earned his Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. Shortly after his graduation, he began working as an analyst at Edward Jones, a reputable financial services firm, where he gained invaluable experience by taking on roles of increasing importance. It wasn’t before long that he was recognized for his stellar performance and natural aptitude for building long-term relationships with clients. In 2015, Jeff was granted the “Young Gun of the Year” award by a leading independent publication for his outstanding work ethic and ability to facilitate meaningful change in his field. Today, not only is he the VP of Operations at OneBall, but he also provides entrepreneurs with expert advice regarding idea development, problem-solving strategies, and market analysis. Moving forward, Jeff Ber continues to be optimistic about the future and pursuing attractive business opportunities that come his way.
How has your industry been impacted regarding COVID-19?
“Unfortunately, charitable organizations across the globe are experiencing greater financial burden due to COVID-19. While the government of Canada is helping weather the storm by injecting funds into charities and non-profits impacted by the pandemic, many of these organizations still find themselves struggling to cope. For OneBall specifically, we have received fewer donations since the onset of the virus and have had fewer opportunities for fundraising. However, we are trying not to let this affect the quality of services we provide to our community. In replace of in-person programs, we have increased our online presence and are utilizing social media platforms to continue spreading our important message.”
What keeps you motivated during this time at home?
“People have been visiting the doctor less and less since the outbreak of the pandemic. Out of fear of contracting the virus, many individuals are suffering from non-COVID health problems in silence. Historically, men, in particular, are prone to avoiding medical attention and routine health screenings, which is only exacerbated by the ongoing Coronavirus crisis. Now, more than ever, we need to continue encouraging self-examination and regular doctors’ check-ups to promote early cancer detection and help save lives.”
Suggestions of good ways others can cope during this time.
“If my battle with cancer taught me anything, it’s that some things are out of your control. Life is highly uncertain at the moment, from the spread of the virus to the state of the economy. However, we aren’t entirely powerless. Instead of worrying about the things we can’t control, we should be focusing on the things we can. For example, try redirecting your energy into meditation, learning a new hobby, spending quality time with family, or self-care. While it may be difficult at first, you will be a lot happier and more productive than if you spend your time worrying about the unknown.”
What does your typical day look like now versus prior to social isolation?
“I like to start my day with a goal in mind—whether it’s finalizing ideas for a fundraising event, writing a speech, or analyzing market trends for one of my clients. The only difference now is that I do nearly everything online. It can be challenging at times, as emails or phone calls are never as intimate as meeting with someone in person. However, I’ve found that video chat has helped me spread more effective motivational messages for OneBall, as well as confer with my freelance clients.”
What advice would you give to fellow businesses that may be struggling during COVID-19?
“COVID-19 is forcing businesses to develop greater levels of resiliency. While this pandemic seems to have come out of the left-field, it has proven that anything can happen. By increasing resilience, businesses will be able to handle future challenges and ensure employees’ livelihoods are not at stake. I suggest utilizing online platforms, diversifying product and service portfolios, entering strategic partnerships, providing staff with remote access, and promoting honest and effective leadership.”
What are some things outside of finding work that you are doing now to stay busy?
“Since my cancer diagnosis, I have realized the importance of maintaining a healthy body and mind. Consequently, I have developed several habits to promote my well-being, such as morning meditation, cooking nutritious meals, reading before bed, and walking or cycling for thirty minutes each day.”
Do you think a work and life balance is important and how difficult is it in these circumstances?
“A work-life balance is of the utmost importance to me. People battling terminal illness often regret not having more fun when they had the chance or spending so much of their life working at the expense of family and friendships. Similarly, when I was positively diagnosed with testicular cancer, I found myself thinking about all the things I still wanted to accomplish, personally and professionally. Thankfully, I’ve been given a second chance, and I don’t intend to waste it. I use a planner to help me divide my time between work commitments, self-care, and family engagements.”
What is one piece of advice that is getting you through these current times?
“When times get tough, I try to remember to practice gratitude. Living with gratitude means counting my blessings and finding joy in the smallest of things. Amid the pandemic, especially, practicing gratitude can help you relax, and promote better mental and physical health.”
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