(Orange, Texas)

June 13, 2013

Man fights cancer, given “Gift of Life”

Dawn Burleigh
The Orange Leader

ORANGE — Men do not talk about it.

Men will say they will not have the screening.

The screening for Prostate Cancer is labwork.

“If the results are positive it is repeated,” Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program  Executive Director Norma Sampson said. “We are there to answer questions and to help.”

David Thompson, 63, has suspicions that he may need to see a doctor when he was unable to sleep  at night.

“I was urinating all night long,” Thompson said. “I couldn’t do anything during the day because I was not sleeping.”

Thompson said he read on the Internet that he could be facing diabetes or prostate cancer.

“I really did not want to know,” Thompson said. “It was the urination.”

Thompson knew a screening was coming up and decided to attend without telling his wife.

“I had no insurance and retired,” Thompson said. “They saved my life just when I needed it.”

Thompson said the program was there for him each step of the way through treatment.

“I am willing to give back anyway I can,” Thompson said. “Men do not talk about it. There are adjustments one has to make. Like hygiene. I was bathing twice a day.”

African American men are twice as high at risk for Prostate cancer.

The Julie Rogers “Gift of Life” Program, in collaboration with Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas and medical providers Gulf Coast Health Clinic, local physicians and other healthcare providers, will make available screening events in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange to offer free healthcare services, including consultations with medical professionals to discuss good health practices, prostate specific antigen (PSA) tests, diabetic tests and blood pressure checks to medically underserved Southeast Texas men.

Sixty men have been diagnosed with prostate cancer since the program’s inception in 2000.

The program also offers a support group, Men Against Cancer (MAC),

“Most men will not talk about it,” Sampson said. “That is the importance of a support group.”

The “Gift of Life,” in partnership with Baptist Hospitals of Southeast Texas and other local healthcare providers, offers free prostate cancer screenings, along with vital healthcare information, to hundreds of medically underserved Southeast Texas men during the month of June. Screenings in Orange on Saturday, June 22. On Saturday, June 6, 86 men were screened in Port Arthur.

“The screening saved my life,” Thompson said. “I am willing to give back anyway I can.”

Thompson is now celebrating eight months as a prostate cancer survivor.