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Faces of Prostate Cancer

Charlie and Mahin Wilson

Survivors

Since his early days with The Gap Band, vocalist Charlie Wilson has been playing to sold-out crowds. But ever since the Grammy-nominated R& B artist was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008, he does more than deliver music on stage. “There’s a moment where I stop my show and talk about this disease,” he says. “I have a packed house so I have that platform. A lot of people are going and getting a checkup because of the voice that I have.”

Wilson may now be urging men at his shows to get tested for prostate cancer, but it was his wife Mahin that first made him go get screened. “It was her insistence that I go,” remembers Charlie. “And I’m so glad that I did because, had I not gone to the doctor, I would be in some serious trouble right now.”

Charlie and Mahin Wilson

“I encourage all the women to have their men go to the doctor for the checkup,” says Mahin. “I know most of the men don’t want to go, so we have to really pull them.”

Following treatment and a few months of follow up, Charlie’s doctor declared him cancer free. But Charlie’s fight against prostate cancer was just beginning. He lost his father to the disease in 2009, and he has committed himself to raising both awareness and money for research supported by PCF. A PCF Creativity Award, which supports research with high potential but no current funding, was named after Charlie in 2009.

“I’m so glad for research because it’s really relevant,” says Charlie. “The money that PCF raised and gave to scientists for research helped me. Now I’m raising money to help others.”

The research is important, but the first step—as Charlie points out during his concerts—is going to the doctor. “Man up and go get a checkup,” he says. “A lot of men are ashamed to get the exam. It would be senseless to die of shame.”

The prostate cancer exam allowed Charlie to catch his cancer early and get the treatments to save his life. “It’s why I’m living now,” he says. I don’t know what tomorrow’s going to be for me, but today I can thank God for my life and I can thank PCF because they gave me a platform to speak to you about this.”

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