We here at redbankgreen weren’t the only ones who did a double-take on opening last Sunday’s New York Times Magazine to page 39.

“Is that who we think it is in the full-page patient testimonial for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York?” we asked ourselves.

In fact it was, and is, Wayne Fisler, owner of Wayne’s Market on West Front Street.

Still, some of Fisler’s friends calling from around the country aren’t completely sure it’s him staring back at them from the magazine.

“A lot of people didn’t know it was me right away because I don’t have my glasses on,” Fisler tells us. “It makes me look like an old man.”

Turns out Fisler, 53, has had prostate cancer in recent years. It’s the second-most common cancer among men, after lung cancer.

The ad refers readers to an extensive case history on the hospital’s website, which details Fisler’s experience with surgery; a combination of chemo and hormone therapy; and most recently, intermittent hormone therapy.

He’s had just two hormone injections since October, one of them earlier this week. Except for nausea immediately after a treatment, “I feel great,” Fisler says. “That’s why they asked me to do [the promo], because I responded so well to the treatment.”

Though Fisler is a fixture in his store’s front window, where he schmoozes with customers and conducts business from a tall stool, friends who haven’t seen him in a while might be forgiven for not recognizing him.

Over the course of the treatment, he’s seen his thickly curled grey hair go white and straight before resuming its natural state, he tells us. And faced with the prospect of weight gain because of the hormone treatments, Fisler said he’s taken up biking with his wife, Diane, at Sandy Hook, Thompson Park and along the ocean in Long Branch to help keep his weight down. It’s working. While most patients on the treatment gain weight, he’s lost 20 lbs., he says.

A lifelong area resident and father of two grown daughters, Fisler has owned the store, which sells a wide range of food delicacies and gift baskets as well as wine, for 30 years. In 2004, the business quickly bounced back from a fire.

In addition to the print ad in the Times mag, Fisler tells us Sloan-Kettering also taped him for a radio promo.

Email this story