PHEN Presents on New Church Strategies to Address Black Prostate Cancer Crisis

PHEN Presents on New Church Strategies to Address Black Prostate Cancer Crisis

Successfully Screens 50 men for Prostate Cancer at Sons of Allen Florida Retreat


Quincy, FL, May 21, 2024 — As part of its Florida Prostate Cancer Disparity Rally, PHEN hosted a panel discussion last week at the 30th Anniversary Retreat for the AME Sons of Allen, coordinated by Rev. George Hardy, 11th AME Church District Coordinator, Sons of Allen. The event was hosted at the New Bethel AME Church in Quincy, Florida, where Rev. Charles A. Morris is the Pastor.

Over 150 men attended the retreat where the theme was “No Man Left Behind.”  PHEN offered free prostate cancer early detection blood tests at the event, in partnership with the Prostate Conditions Educational Council (PCEC). Fifty men were screened at the event, including AME senior leaders who encouraged all men in attendance to get screened.

“We have been left behind for years because we are afraid to go get tested,” said Bishop Frank M. Reid, III, Presiding Prelate 11th Episcopal District AME Church. Bishop Reid, III shared his personal story of undergoing a kidney transplant and the resulting blood tests and checkups, which includes screening for prostate cancer. “I have lost 10 friends recently who have died from advanced stage prostate cancer. If it is caught early, it can save your life.”

PHEN’s director of Church partnerships, Rev. Adrian Backus, kicked off the panel discussion with a passionate message to the church leaders that prostate cancer is a crisis within their communities, and invited them all to partner with PHEN to combat this health crisis. He also announced that more than 100 AME churches had joined as church partners during the current Florida rally.

“I can’t over emphasize the importance of early screening,” said PHEN Tampa Ambassador, Barney Morris, a prostate cancer survivor. “At 40 years old, I had no symptoms and, due to early screening, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer, confirmed at age 41. Had I not had an early screening, I wouldn’t be sitting here talking to you today.”

PHEN is teaming up with over 23 policymakers, health advocates, survivors, and church leaders throughout Florida for its Florida Prostate Cancer Disparity Rally throughout May. The Rally is expanded to include church partnership outreach and free prostate cancer screening. PHEN has also purchased more than 600 radio advertisements on stations in Tallahassee, Orlando, Jacksonville, and Tampa to air recorded messages by these leaders, along with an aggressive social media campaign with the aim of reaching 1 million people.

“PHEN is here to support the AME churches and we have created ‘ever-present’ resources about prostate cancer for churches and their members to access for free online or order materials for distribution,” said Thomas A. Farrington, president and founder of PHEN and a 24-year prostate cancer survivor.  “We are excited to see the great response with more than 100 churches joining with us during our Florida Rally.”

Mr. Tony Hill, PHEN’s Policy Coordinator, presented on the need for churches to become active as advocates for national and local policies that will support eliminating the prostate cancer racial disparity. In a show of support and solidarity, Bishop Reid, III stated that, as the incoming president of the AME Bishop’s Council, he will add PHEN to the Council’s agenda for a meeting later this summer.  He invited PHEN to present its message along with proposed legislative efforts, to improve prostate cancer detection efforts, to all of the bishops.

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