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For Bucs’ William Gholston, fight against cancer disparities is personal

A six-figure donation by the defensive end will support research into why some cancers are more deadly for African Americans.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end William Gholston attends a team practice in October at AdventHealth Center, One Buccaneer Place, in Tampa. On Monday, he challenged his fellow defensive linemen to match his donation supporting equity in cancer care.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end William Gholston attends a team practice in October at AdventHealth Center, One Buccaneer Place, in Tampa. On Monday, he challenged his fellow defensive linemen to match his donation supporting equity in cancer care. [ DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD | Times ]
Published Feb. 1
Updated Feb. 2

TAMPA — Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end William Gholston says he has keenly felt the impact of disparities in the health care system.

“My father died battling lung cancer, and my uncle from prostate cancer,” he said. “My mother has won her breast cancer battle multiple times. This battle is hard, the fight is hard, and any amount of research or help is huge in my eyes.”

On Monday, Moffitt Cancer Center announced a $225,000 donation from Gholston to help address disparities in cancer care. The gift, which also helped to kickoff Black History Month, will support research in breast, colon and prostate cancers — diseases that disproportionately affect Black men and women.

“I hope this donation helps others who are fighting or may have to fight down the line,” Gholston said in a Moffitt news release Monday. “You can never get time back, but with this we may be able to add more time for others.”

Gholston, who with his teammates will host the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl 55 on Sunday, called on his fellow defensive linemen to match his donation. The funds will go to Moffitt’s George Edgecomb Society, an initiative launched in 2017 aimed at ensuring equity in cancer health outcomes.

Across the country, African Americans have the highest cancer death rates and the lowest survival rates of any other racial or ethnic group, according to the American Cancer Society.

Despite being diagnosed at similar rates, Black women are more likely than white women to die from breast cancer. African Americans also are more likely to be diagnosed with colon and prostate cancer than other ethnic groups. And the number of colorectal cancer diagnoses for individuals under the age of 50 is increasing.

“We thank William and his family for their continued support of Moffitt,” said Dr. Patrick Hwu, CEO of the Tampa center. “This donation carries great thoughtfulness and intent, and will help fund critical research.”

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg provides partial funding for Times stories on equity. It does not select story topics and is not involved in the reporting or editing.

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