Friday, September 21, 2018
Health

Celebrity Paul Anthony looks to boost Moffitt's African-American outreach

TAMPA — Whether performing one of his 1980s hits on stage, starring in the urban classic movie House Party or strutting the red carpet as a Grammy-winning producer, Paul Anthony — co-founder of the music group Full Force — always arrived on the scene looking fit and buff.

So it came as a shock to his family and friends, many of whom rank among today's best-known celebrities, when doctors diagnosed Anthony with mantle cell lymphoma in 2006. Anthony, however, set aside pity and sorrow for a powerful approach of mind, body and spirit.

"When I looked it up ... the first two words I read were 'fatal and incurable,'" Anthony said during a recent H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center event at the Tampa Museum of Art. "The first thing I said was, 'Wow.' Thirty seconds later, I said, 'I'm not changing anything.'

"My constitution, my focus, the same things I did in the gym — spending time training mind, body and spirit — is what I applied to the cancer."

Through the initial challenge and a 2012 recurrence, Anthony remained upbeat and positive. He took on the mission of not only defeating cancer, but inspiring others to adopt his energetic approach.

When he first revealed his cancer diagnosis in interviews, it unnerved his brother, Lou "Bowlegged Lou" George. But Anthony remain undaunted.

"I told him, 'I was built for this,'" Anthony said. "'I'm the one. Let's go.'"

Now Anthony, in remission, brings his mission to touch, change and save lives to Moffitt, Florida's only National Cancer Institute Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Specifically, he plans to use his celebrity connections to help the center create the George Edgecomb Society, a new source of community support named in memory of the former African-American judge who lost his life to cancer.

In fact, Anthony already has started. He connected with actress Vivica A. Fox and persuaded her to attend the center's Jan. 17 event at the museum. Both raved about Moffitt's impressive staff, inspiring mission and remarkable founder — former state House Speaker H. Lee Moffitt.

"They're just wonderful and they want to work hard, they want to do more," said Fox, who counts the movies Independence Day and Kill Bill and the television series Empire among her credits.

"To be able to help their cause get a little more visibility if I can, using my voice, I'm more than happy to do that."

The Edgecomb Society will seek to ensure equitable health outcomes and the elimination of cancer-health disparities among African-Americans. It's an issue that needs a concentrated focus, according to B. Lee Green, Moffitt's vice president of diversity, public relations and strategic communications.

"While there has been progress in cancer treatment, screening, diagnosis and prevention over the past decades, it has been slower for the black/African American community," Green said. "This community continues to face higher cancer rates and cancer deaths in comparison to other communities."

Anthony, who lists a cavalcade of stars among his friends — including Mariah Carey, Rihanna, Anthony Anderson and Jamie Foxx — looks to use that celebrity to raise Moffitt's profile and encourage more African-Americans to be proactive in their health care.

At a kickoff event on Thursday at Moffitt's Stabile Research Center, Anthony will perform with Kathy Sledge of Sister Sledge and Alia Davis from Allure. He also will take time to deliver a message that promises to be inspired by his faith and his mission.

"I may not know what I'm going to say, I may not know what I'm gong to do. It all depends on how he moves me," Anthony said. "But you better believe it's going to be benevolent, it's going to feed purpose, it's going to have fun and it's going to touch some lives."

Nikki Ross-Inda, Moffitt community relations coordinator, met Anthony's Florida-based executive associate and established the initial connection between Anthony and the center. A red carpet welcome that eventually included the center's namesake helped cement the relationship.

"To meet and embrace H. Lee Moffitt was big to me," Anthony said. "I saw him and I said, 'Whoa,' and I meant that because you see he's a spiritual architect, a visionary."

Moffitt hopes the Edgecomb Society will inspire black professionals to mind the gate. Naming the group after Edgecomb proved an inspired choice given that his death was one of three that inspired H. Lee Moffitt's vision of a Tampa-based cancer center.

Seeking the help of black professionals also seemed to be an achievable goal.

"If we don't do it," said Woodrow Grady, president of Tampa-based Freedom Solutions and a charter member of the society, "who else is going to do it for us."

Contact Ernest Hooper at [email protected] Follow him @hoop4you.

Comments
Tampa General nurses record the last heartbeats of dying patients, making a family memory

Tampa General nurses record the last heartbeats of dying patients, making a family memory

TAMPA — As John Reisinger waited with family at Tampa General Hospital, grief settled in like a fog. So some of the details are hazy.But he remembers the moment when three women in white lab coats approached him.The day before, his niece, Jessica Rau...
Published: 09/21/18
All Children’s unveils a $95 million research center. Next step: ‘Cure some diseases.’

All Children’s unveils a $95 million research center. Next step: ‘Cure some diseases.’

ST. PETERSBURG — "Vicky Hopkins" is 37 weeks pregnant and splayed on a bed at Johns Hopkin’s All Children’s Hospital. Four obstetricians surround her as she groans."My back is killing me," she complains, but she keeps pushing. Soon the round shape of...
Published: 09/20/18
I was hospitalized for my eating disorder. Here's what Netflix shows get right and wrong about it.

I was hospitalized for my eating disorder. Here's what Netflix shows get right and wrong about it.

It took me a year and a half to watch Netflix’s To the Bone. The movie, which debuted in January 2017, portrays Ellen, a 20-year-old woman battling anorexia nervosa, and her experience being in and out of various treatment programs. When it w...
Published: 09/20/18
Watchdog slams safeguards for foster kids on psych drugs

Watchdog slams safeguards for foster kids on psych drugs

WASHINGTON — Thousands of foster children may be getting powerful psychiatric drugs prescribed to them without basic safeguards, says a federal watchdog agency that found a failure to care for youngsters whose lives have already been disrupted...
Published: 09/17/18
Doctors dismissed her, but she turned out to be right after years of needless suffering

Doctors dismissed her, but she turned out to be right after years of needless suffering

The prominent New York City gynecologist didn’t bother to conceal his disdain."Stop practicing Google medicine," Lina Kharnak remembers the doctor chiding her when she asked about a possible cause of her worsening leg and back pain. The disease about...
Published: 09/16/18
Updated: 09/17/18
Tampa General Hospital’s East Pavilion advised not to use running water after water main break

Tampa General Hospital’s East Pavilion advised not to use running water after water main break

Since Saturday morning, patients and staff in Tampa General Hospital’s East Pavilion and Rehabilitation Center have been advised against using running water.As of Sunday afternoon, it was not known when the recommended ban would be lifted.According t...
Published: 09/16/18
Anger management: Learn healthy ways to handle it, and unlearn bad behavior

Anger management: Learn healthy ways to handle it, and unlearn bad behavior

What makes you mad? Dropping your new phone in the toilet — after deciding not to take the extra coverage that would have replaced it? Being cut off in traffic? Having a parking place "stolen" from you? Doing dishes after shopping for and cooki...
Published: 09/14/18
Red Tide outbreak can be particularly bad for people with asthma or allergies

Red Tide outbreak can be particularly bad for people with asthma or allergies

The toxic algae bloom known as Red Tide has left a trail of dead fish in its wake up the western coast of Florida. The bloom that had been wreaking havoc on our southern neighbors has now made its way to the Tampa Bay area. High concentrations of the...
Published: 09/14/18
In Florida and everywhere, a big shift is underway. It’s changing the way we go to the doctor.

In Florida and everywhere, a big shift is underway. It’s changing the way we go to the doctor.

The health care business in Florida and across the nation is the midst of monumental change as insurers, hospital chains and even retailers begin to venture outside their traditional roles. Hospitals are getting into the insurance end of the busines...
Published: 09/17/18
Calling teen vaping ‘epidemic,’ officials weigh flavor ban

Calling teen vaping ‘epidemic,’ officials weigh flavor ban

WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials are sounding the alarm about teenage use of e-cigarettes, calling the problem an "epidemic" and ordering manufacturers to reverse the trend or risk having their flavored vaping products pulled from the market. The w...
Published: 09/12/18