Gift of Life provides health, hope and help to over 450 Southeast Texas men
Published 9:22 am Saturday, July 8, 2017
Special to The Leader
During June, National Men’s Health Month, the Gift of Life and its medical partners provided prostate cancer screenings and primary care medical tests, including cholesterol and glucose, blood pressure, HIV and Hepatitis C, for more than 450 Southeast Texas men who cannot afford insurance or their high deductibles. Food, door prizes and educational health awareness information were presented to hundreds of families who attended the screenings in Beaumont, Port Arthur and Orange.
Community leaders, dignitaries and program patrons attended the screenings in support of the Gift of Life’s comprehensive lifesaving services.
At the Beaumont screening, Jefferson County Commissioner and Men’s Health Month Honorary Chair Michael “Shane” Sinegal, along with City of Beaumont Councilman Audwin Samuels, welcomed Gift of Life clients and commended the men for taking care of themselves.
“I’m out here with the Gift of Life trying to save lives with preventive screenings,” said Sinegal. “If you can catch [prostate cancer] early, the likelihood of you surviving is 100%!”
Orange Mayor Jimmy Sims, West Orange Mayor and prostate cancer survivor Roy McDonald and City of Orange Community Development Representative Sandy Wilson assisted at the Orange screening site and congratulated patients for taking these essential steps to improve their health.
“It’s very important to come out and thank the Gift of Life for doing this,” said Sims. “One in five men get diagnosed with prostate cancer and most of them walk around with no pain – don’t feel anything – and it’s a walking time bomb. If you come [to the Gift of Life] and get it detected early, it will save your life.”
Clients at the Port Arthur screening site were extremely appreciative of the Jefferson County Commissioners staff members’ help and the opportunity to meet State District Court Judge Donald Floyd (Champagne & Ribs Honoree), as well as Port Arthur native and Super Bowl Champion Joe Washington, Jr.
“The Gift of Life is a great team,” Washington said. “You’re supposed to find your purpose in life, and maybe this is mine. The Gift of Life can be part of my team any time!”
Clients expressed gratitude for the extra care and concern they received from Gift of Life staff and the hundreds of volunteers. Essential preventative cancer education, timely screening test outcomes and on-site consults with physicians provided each man with vital medical guidance and, when needed, navigation to site representatives from local clinics for follow-up appointments.
“I love what the Gift of Life does, so I make sure to come every year,” said a Beaumont screening client. “I bring along my friends and family because I want them to live a long time, too. You can’t beat the service and the people are so nice. It’s like a big family! You leave the screening knowledgeable about yourself and your health.”
One Port Arthur screening client was deeply emotional about his test results.
“In 2007, I was told I had Hepatitis C.,” he said. “I didn’t understand the results and didn’t have a way to find out more. All this time, I’ve worried about what was happening in my body. Today, I had a free Hepatitis C test and an opportunity to visit with a doctor. My results were negative. I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I am so relieved. I feel so much better! The Gift of Life has given me a reason to live.”
Studies indicate that despite improved medical technology, on average, American men will die five years earlier than their female counterparts. In 2017, it is estimated that prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 161,360 American men, and an estimated 26,730 will die from the disease this year.
Since 2000, the Gift of Life has made available more than 9,000 free prostate cancer screenings and helped extend the lives of 71 men who have been diagnosed with prostate cancer and whose diagnostic and cancer treatment costs were entirely underwritten by the Gift of Life.
Gift of Life’s Prostate Cancer Support Group, Men Against Cancer (MAC) assists men recently diagnosed with cancer, along with survivors and their families and caregivers. Meetings are hosted the second Tuesday of each month at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and provide men an opportunity to share experiences and gain information from featured speakers who address medical issues and recovery.
For additional information, please contact the Gift of Life at 409-833-3663 or visit giftoflifebmt.org.