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July 12, 2014, 11:18 am

Prostate cancer rally set for Father’s Day

The Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) is launching its “Fifth Annual Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer” with an ambitious goal of reaching one million people. This is believed to be the largest and most visible prostate cancer education and awareness effort ever undertaken with a focus on Black America.

The Rally will be held on June 16 in partnership with churches nationwide during their regular church services. Prostate cancer survivors within each congregation along with family members of those who have lost loved ones to the disease will be recognized and join hands in prayer for healing. Calvary AME Church, Shiloh Baptist Church, Ward AME Church, and Mt. Pisgah AME Church are all slated to participate.

In 2012, the Rally reached approximately 200,000 persons based on the total membership of the churches that participated. This year, PHEN will augment the Rally with prostate cancer educational symposiums in selected cities across the country. In Philadelphia, the symposium will be held on June 15 at the First Episcopal District of the AME Church at First District Plaza, 3801 Market St. from noon until 2 p.m. PHEN industry partners, members of its national survivor network, and local health providers will play integral roles in these educational activities.

“PHEN’s Annual Father’s Day Rally has proven to be an effective education and awareness outreach initiative for African American families who are the ones most impacted by prostate cancer. Because of these urgent needs, it is imperative that we build on our success and increase outreach efforts this year,” said PHEN founder and president Thomas A. Farrington. PHEN was founded in 2003 by Farrington, a prostate cancer survivor and author, with a mission to eliminate the African American prostate cancer disparity. Church partnerships which have been developed and nurtured across all denominations are the key to PHEN’s Father’s Day Rally success.

“Congregations within the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church have actively participated in the Father’s Day Rally since its inception, and we look forward to participating in the Rally’s expansion in size and scope this year,” said the Rev. Natalie Mitchem, executive director of the AME Connectional Health Commission. The AME Church has a membership of approximately 3 million persons within the United States and around the world.

Black men die at a rate 2.5 times higher than men of all other ethnic and racial groups in the United States. This disparity led the U.S. Senate, in July 2012, to pass a resolution recognizing prostate cancer to be of epidemic proportions among African American men. However, there has been significant confusion among the public caused by the ongoing debate about PSA screening and over-treatment. Simultaneously, a number of new prostate cancer treatments have been approved and there is a flurry of clinical trial activity that will undoubtedly lead to more treatment breakthroughs along with new procedures for detecting and managing prostate cancer.

“We recognize the enormous challenge in achieving our Rally’s goal this year, however, Black America must become knowledgeable about new developments and fully engaged in order to eliminate the current epidemic, and not be overlooked and risk a worsening condition. The Rally’s success is a significant opportunity for forward progress.” said Farrington.

All churches are invited to partner with PHEN by participating in the “Fifth Annual Father’s Day Rally Against Prostate Cancer.” Church registration is now open. To register and for additional information visit http://www.prostatehealthed.org/churchregister2013.php.