This Father’s Day, June 19, Black churches across the country will participate in a Father’s Day “Rally Against Prostate Cancer” with the theme of Joining Hands in Prayer and Action to Save Lives. The Rally serves to increase knowledge and awareness about this country’s African American prostate cancer crisis. Statistics show that Black men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at a rate 60% higher than white men and suffer a mortality rate that is 140% higher— the largest racial disparity for any type of major cancer. Participating churches will recognize prostate cancer survivors, their families, and the loved ones of those men who have died from the disease. Members will wear blue, to symbolize the fight against prostate cancer and offer special prayers of love and healing.
This year marks the third annual “Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer,” which is hosted by the Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN), a Boston-based nonprofit. PHEN supplied the churches with educational materials, including posters, flyers, blue ribbons, and webinars to help prepare them to host the Rally and will continue an ongoing effort in partnership with the churches.
Churches spanning cities across the country, including Boston, Baltimore, Atlanta, Charlotte, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Chicago, Washington, DC, Nashville and beyond, are participating in the Rally. Many of them have already taken action to prepare for the Rally, including:
• Rev. Dr. Kelvin T. Calloway, Pastor of Bethel AME Church, in Los Angeles, CA, also a recent Prostate Cancer Survivor, declared that their Rally will be a day of “blue.” Men at his church will wear blue shirts in solidarity and he has committed his entire service to prostate health.
• Dr. Clyde W. Oden, Pastor of Bryant Temple AME Church, in Los Angeles, CA, will be featured in the Los Sentinel newspaper, to chronicle his personal experiences as a prostate cancer survivor.
• Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson, Presiding Prelate for the AME Church, 2nd District recently kicked-off the Rally with PHEN during his church’s annual conference, in Wilmington, NC.
• Rev. Arthur Gerald, Pastor, Twelfth Baptist Church, in Boston, MA participated in a PHEN/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute webcast to discuss “Faith in Healing.”
• Bishop Vashti Murphy McKenzie, presiding prelate of the 13th Episcopal District issued the Christian Recorder Newsbreak enewsletter, asking all churches in the 13th Episcopal District (encompasses Tennessee and Kentucky) to join the Connection church, to help promote awareness about Prostate Cancer on Father’s Day.
• Rev. Dr. Frank D. Tucker, Pastor, First Baptist Church, in Washington, DC is holding a special men’s health session on prostate cancer on June 18, as well as participating in the church wide Rally, on Father’s Day.
“There is a critical lack of prostate health knowledge in Black America that is needlessly causing deaths and suffering, which must be changed,” said Thomas A. Farrington, president and founder, PHEN. “By hosting the Rally during Father’s Day Church services, we are creating a highly visible and effective joint effort with churches across Black communities. This is a powerful step forward,” said Farrington, who is also a prostate cancer survivor.
This year, PHEN has also partnered with the Conference of National Black Churches (CNBC) to work with and involve each of their nine denominations that comprise the organization. “We are encouraging our churches across the country to stay involved with PHEN in its prostate cancer education and advocacy efforts until the uneven toll that this disease is taking on Black men is eliminated,”
Visit http://www.rapcancer.org to see a list of PHEN’s 2011 highlighted “Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer” church participants.
# # #
African American men are diagnosed with prostate cancer at a rate 60% higher and have a death rate 150% higher than all other men. This is the largest racial disparity for any type of cancer. The Father’s Day Rally is a part of PHEN’s RAP Cancer initiative, which was launched in 2008. RAP Cancer mobilizes prostate cancer survivors with the resources to help others, and outreaches through PHEN support group meetings, online television programming, community television stations, radio and internet broadcasts. This broad “grassroots”