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Journey of Hope

A merger of medicine and miracles

Michael McGee | 11/7/2013, 5:04 p.m.
There are times when the coincidences or ironies of life can take the course of phenomena that become more of ...
Desmond Pringle and his father, Bishop Lavern Pringle Sr. of Kingdom Records

The Dallas Examiner

There are times when the coincidences or ironies of life can take the course of phenomena that become more of a test or a trial that can leave men and women asking, “Why?” Those who live their lives upon a path of religious faith are not immune, as gospel singer Desmond Pringle can attest.

Pringle became the celebrity spokesman for Cancer Treatment Centers of America in April. He began touring to present his “Our Journey of Hope” concert series intended to generate awareness for cancer prevention and treatment.

While preparing to headline the “A Night of Hope and Inspiration” show in Los Angeles on Oct. 18, he learned that his own father was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Furthermore, it was a rare but aggressive form of cancer, known as sarcoma.

“It just seems surreal,” Pringle said as he revealed that his father was already in the hospital for issues unrelated to cancer. “There was never any indication or idea or thought that he had cancer prior to that.”

He noted that in May he was in his hometown in South Carolina for a CTCA-sponsored show. It was at that show that he and his father had their last photo taken together.

“The irony is beyond incredible,” he said.

The initial discovery of his father’s cancer was Oct. 3. Pringle’s father, Bishop Lavern Pringle Sr., 66, succumbed to the disease on Oct. 7.

The Office of Minority Health reports that there is a disparity between African Americans and Caucasians when it comes to cancer detection. In 2009, data regarding new cancer cases in men recorded 60.4 colon and rectum cancer occurrences per 100,000 in Black males versus 47 occurrences in White males in the United States.

Those reports also reveal that in 2008, only 50.4 percent of African Americans in the U.S. age 50 and over had a colonoscopy, sigmoidoscopy or proctoscopy – tests that allow physicians to observe the inner lining of the anus, rectum and the lower part of the large intestines known as the colon.

“My father was of the generation of African American men who just aren’t that aggressive and that participatory in their own health care,” Pringle explained. “One of things that we’re definitely really punctuating and trying to get out in terms of messaging is that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Health care shouldn’t be called upon only as a necessity of emergency, he added.

Pringle recalled the whirlwind of events and emotions of the past weeks. He made it through the “Our Journey of Hope” concert in Los Angeles, Calif., noting that the purpose behind the concert became more important to him than ever.

He said that the program had the objective of interfacing with churches because – though many of the people who have come before him helped establish health care ministries in their churches, there were still many patients who are people of faith that felt their church was not as much a part of their recovery or healing process as they would have liked.