Lowcountry man aims to stamp out breast cancer in honor of late wife

WCIV, Joe O'Neill

JAMES ISLAND, S.C. (WCIV) - Benjamin Franklin once said, "Either write something worth reading, or do something worth writing."

Eugene Platt does both.

"I've always enjoyed the traditional way of communicating with family and friends, on paper with a pen," said Platt, a published poet.

In the fall of 1998, Platt's wife, Mary, was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 48 years old.

"Mary was 13 years younger than I, so when we got married in December of 1988, I logically assumed that someday she'd be burying me, but it didn't work out that way."

Platt says his wife had a lumpectomy, chemotherapy and radiation that the doctors thought cured her disease But three years later, she was diagnosed with breast cancer again.

"Although we did not articulate it as such, just hearing that diagnosis was like hearing a death sentence," Platt said.

Mary Platt died from the disease in March 2003. Eugene Platt says just putting a pen to paper has helped him cope over the last decade. But he found his ultimate peace at the Post Office.

"I need 3,366 breast cancer stamps," Platt ordered at the counter Monday morning.

It's an $1,800 purchase with a purpose. Each stamp costs 55 cents with 11 cents going towards breast cancer research.

"I guess I was aware of the breast cancer stamp program and, I don't know, it was just a bright idea one day," Platt said. "Why not buy a large enough quantity that might be newsworthy?"

That idea came ten Octobers ago and Eugene hasn't missed a year since.

"Some women might see this tonight and say, 'Oh my goodness, I'm overdue for a mammogram.' She'll schedule it and it might save her life."

In the past decade, he has bought 25,406 stamps worth more than $13,000.

Platt doesn't keep all of the stamps for himself. Instead, he donates them to several charities including the Hollings Cancer Center, the Wilderness Awareness School and his church.