75 year old Lawrence McRae of Tuskegee, Alabama will be interviewed on "Your Life Calling With Jane Pauley," new ambassador to AARP on Tuesday 8/17. McRae discovered he had prostate cancer in his 30s, and since then has been a spokesperson for black males' getting tested.
Prostate cancer affects black men more than others, he says, and he's dedicated his post-retirement years to raising money to affect men's decision to get themselves tested. Pauley decided to include Mr. McCrae as an example of how retired people can have an impact on their communities.
Coming along too late to get a contract from the local charity bingo association, he relies on his Social Security check to pay the expenses involved in taking his message to men in the Alabama Black Belt. So, being interviewed by Pauley is a great opportunity for him and the men he targets. The McRae Prostate Cancer Awareness Foundation offers patients, survivors, family and friends the tools to get education and services.The Black Belt, he says on his website, houses the highest number of economically depressed black and Hispanic men in Alabama. What a way to make an impact in retirement!
It came to my attention recently that men from certain ethnic groups have a harder time with prostate exams. They don't like to be touched in those "private parts" by health providers. Recently, I interviewed Morris Englander, retired from the Hoyt theater presidency, on my TV show, "Alivelihood." Englander volunteers for Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and has taken on the job of going on a van to poor neighborhoods to appeal to the men to get prostate check-ups. When they wince at the suggestion, he says, often in fluent Spanish to the Hispanic men he encounters, "Would you rather die?"