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Chamber CEO Chris Steinocher announces cancer diagnosis [Audio]

Megan Holmes

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Chris Steinocher has been at the helm of the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce since 2011. His vision and leadership have transformed a once-ailing organization into one of the strongest institutions in St. Pete.

On Wednesday, Steinocher joined St. Pete Catalyst Publisher Joe Hamilton in the studio to share information about his recent prostate cancer diagnosis, and the letter he penned to his Chamber family. 

In this audio conversation, Steinocher tells the story of his diagnosis, and how one of the hundreds of ribbon cuttings he does each year literally changed his life, thanks to the Nurse Practitioners of Pinellas County.

“I’m not gonna be the guy who tells every guy to get a blood test for their PSA number, but I’m unfortunately going to be that guy right now,” said Steinocher.

“You’re supposed to get from 0-4 and I had 10-ish,” Steinocher explained. “Which is where they say you’ve got something. And then you look at that number and you just kind of stare off into space for a while because you think you’re confronted with the inevitable.”

That blood test was followed by a barrage of examinations, MRIs and biopsies, and eventually, a diagnosis.

Now, Steinocher is looking forward – and he’s optimistic. His surgery date is set for Sept. 6 and he’ll spend 30 days away from the St. Pete spotlight. He already has a plan in place for everything to roll smoothly at the Chamber in his absence. 

“I’ve learned a lot,” Steinocher said. “The path I’m on now is going to be different from the path I was on. I feel more empowered than ever. I feel more excited to get creative again, get going again. So watch out when I get back, because I’m going to have a lot of new ideas about how we’re going to treat each other in that same St. Pete way.”

Listen to the full audio conversation above to see how listeners and community members can show support while respecting Steinocher’s wishes for privacy and space.

Read his full letter below:

Dear Chamber Community –

Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to share with you many issues facing our Chamber and our City.

Today, I wanted to share with you an issue facing me personally.

Cancer. Prostate Cancer to be specific.

It’s going to be ok – we caught it early allowing Juli and me plenty of time to seek out the best path for a long healthy life.

So I’ll need time for my treatment and healing. The Chamber’s Executive Committee has approved a short-term medical leave – starting this holiday weekend.

In my absence, we have a great team caring for our members and our organizations.

Bill Kent, our Chairman, will continue to lead the board and Elizabeth McMurray, our Vice President of Finance and Administration, will lead our staff.  I’m confident our amazing team and our dedicated board will keep our efforts moving forward.

As you can imagine, it’s a little overwhelming but I have an amazing wife (the best mental health counselor ever) and two awesome sons ensuring my comfort and care.

I do have for you a simple ask: a bit of space and privacy for my family and me, your commitment to stay engaged in our efforts to make our home the best place on earth and finally, if past due, please pay your dues 😉

I look forward to the days ahead and I can’t wait to hear what I’ve missed.

Thank you for your continued support.

Chris

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