Madison man battling cancer educates others on preventative health care

June 30, 2022 9:29 PM

Posted: June 30, 2022 9:29 PM

Updated: June 30, 2022 9:42 PM

MADISON, Wis. – Those who know Gary Davis best said he’s always been community-minded, so to see him use his own health crisis to further his commitment to others didn’t come as a shock.

Davis currently works as a youth employment coordinator for Briarpatch Youth Services. Before that, for the better part of 15 years, Davis has made it a point to do what he can to help others, work he finds rewarding.

“My dad has always been like that,” his daughter and coworker Kayla Every said. “Getting out into the community and doing what he can to kind of counteract negative things.”

But as Davis is doing his part to support others through life’s challenges, he’s dealing with a big one of his own. Three years ago, Davis was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the same disease that took his father.

With his father in mind, Davis now uses his community reach to educate Black men like his dad on the importance of getting screened, listening to their bodies and knowing their risks.

“I think if he would’ve been in a situation to know how far we’ve come medically, then he probably would’ve maybe (taken) that challenge of doing chemo,” he said.

Davis knows what many health experts do as well, that men often take too long to go to make a trip to the doctor’s office. He said men need to stop being scared to see the doctor.

In return, his community is reaching back out. His daughter Every said since Davis’ diagnosis, people have shown their family support in so many ways, leaving Davis grateful.

“My favorite thing to tell people is, ‘Give people their roses while they can still smell them,”’ Davis said. “That’s just my way of just telling people, ‘Tell them what they mean to you while they’re here, don’t wait until they’re gone,’ you know.”

In addition to his work at Briarpatch, Davis is a member of the African American Cancer Community Advocacy Board and a music promoter. He uses all of those platforms to connect with people and get them informed on the value of good health practices.

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