Cancer survivor hopes to inspire others
Published 10:14 am Wednesday, June 3, 2015
A prostate cancer diagnosis can be a scary ordeal for an aging man. Aside from skin cancer, it is the most common form of cancer in American men, and it falls only second to lung cancer in number of cancer-related deaths. Statistics show that one in six men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime.
But when Ernest Claud Jr., 72, received news in March 2006 of an increased protein level in his blood via the results of his annual Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test, he wasn’t too worried.
“I had concerns at first, but it wasn’t something that was totally new,” he said, noting that his younger brother, Peter, has successfully battled the ailment just four years prior.
Within three months of his diagnosis, Claud was cancer free. A robotic procedure had removed the tumor with minimal intrusion, and he was able to avoid chemotherapy altogether thanks to the early detection.
The retired Southampton County Public School administrator could have chosen to live his life as if he had never been stricken, but he now uses his experiences to help better inform the public about prostate cancer.
“I just hope to keep raising awareness and do whatever I can to raise funds,” Claud said, noting that he is the team captain of the Pleasant Plain Baptist Church’s Cruisers Relay For Life team.
With only three days until the event, the Cruisers have raised nearly $5,200, good for second in the Franklin-Southampton chapter. Of those teams participating in this year’s Relay at Franklin’s Armory Field, Claud’s group of 12 falls only behind that which has eight more members.
“It’s a great event to support cancer research,” he said, encouraging the community to participate as a volunteer or through sponsorships. “I’m hopeful that one day they’ll find a cure.”
Come Saturday morning at 9 o’clock, Claud will be among hundreds of other survivors kicking off Relay with a ceremonial lap to celebrate their victory over cancer. If you’re interested in cheering Claud and the other cancer survivors, or you would like to support those who are facing cancer head-on, contact chairwoman Cindy Cotton at 617-9743, or via email at RelayForLife_2015FSHC@yahoo.com.
More information can be found online at www.relayforlife.org/FranklinSouthamptonVA, as well as by searching Relay For Life Franklin-Southampton on Facebook and Instagram.