Prostate cancer is one of the most common forms of cancer in men and is the second leading cause of cancer deaths in men. However, prostate cancer can also be one of the most treatable forms of cancer according to the American Cancer Society. Blue Flowers’ President and CEO, Valerie Crawford-Schiele, has been an advocate for early prostate exams as a primary method for fighting cancer. Her passion and commitment stems from witnessing her father’s 12-year courageous battle against the disease. In December 2014, Crawford-Schiele had to say goodbye to her father. She strongly believes that what you know can help you. African-American men should know the facts about prostate cancer and the importance of getting screened.
As her father’s primary caregiver, she personally navigated all levels of the healthcare system, advocating on his behalf for the best available care and service delivery. Although she had no formal training in the healthcare industry, her role as an educator and experience as a caregiver led her to ask the right questions, lobby the right medical professionals and organizations for results as she learned more about the disease.
Prostate cancer takes a major toll on the lives of African-American men and their families each year. Blue Flowers is an organization that empowers women and the men in their lives against prostate cancer. Crawford-Schiele shared, “Women are responsible for making over 80% of family medical decisions and are positioned to support the men in their lives in the prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.”
According to the National Cancer Institute, African-American men may have the highest rate of prostate cancer incidents in the world. Also, African-American men are more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer and to die from prostate cancer than white men.
What you should know about prostate cancer:
- One man dies every 20 minutes from prostate cancer.
- Prostate cancer is an epidemic, but it doesn’t have to be.
- Prostate cancer is one of the most preventable forms of cancer with an early diagnosis.
“African-American men lack health insurance and/or access to quality healthcare (socioeconomic factors), lack of positive relationships (trust) between healthcare professionals and/or lack of overall healthy lifestyles,” said Crawford-Schiele.
Knowledge is power. In pursuing a healthy lifestyle, including exercise, a healthy diet and annual screenings, you’re taking wellness into your hands. Sometimes being a man means stepping up for health, even when you don’t want to!
“My father was a man of strong faith in God and believed His grace and mercy sustained him after his prostate cancer diagnosis. I plan to continue the organizations’ commitment and diligent work to help save lives and families from prostate cancer,” said Crawford-Schiele.
As an educator for over 15 years, Crawford-Schiele leads the awareness initiatives and is responsible for marketing and donor engagement at Blue Flowers. She has a B.S. degree in Marketing from the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City and she holds a Masters of Education degree (M.Ed.) from Cambridge College, Cambridge, MA.
She is married to Dr. Jerome Schiele, a university administrator and professor.