Voice Recognition

Rev. Childs on a Mission

Feb. 13, 2024

It’s not common that patients are MORE proactive about their health and preventative wellness than their doctors recommend. 

But that’s exactly the type of patient Dr. Angela Jia of University Hospitals encountered when she met Lutheran East faculty member Rev. Mandel Childs. While the recommended age to begin preventative screening for prostate cancer is 50, Childs began in his 30s…just to be safe.

For many years, those preventative screenings came back normal. Then, in his early 50s, Rev’s PSA (prostate specific antigen) level came back with an elevated result. PSA measures the level of a certain protein in the blood, which can be a key indicator for the potential of prostate cancer. A test six months later showed an increasingly elevated result, as did a subsequent test six months after that. His doctor advised a biopsy, and the results showed that there was cancer. 

His doctors at University Hospitals developed a plan, and Rev was able to receive radiation treatment that was conducted in five treatment sessions over the course of just two weeks. Six months after completing his treatment sessions, his PSA levels went from over 10.0 to below 2.5, putting him back into the normal range.

The fact that he had cancer was undeniable. But Rev chose to focus on what else was undeniable – that his tenacity in taking his own preventative health and wellness into his own hands had been the reason his cancer was able to be caught at an early stage. 

Since his diagnosis and treatment, Rev has taken up the banner of persuading more men to get and continue preventative screening. For a variety of reasons, including fear of the process and fear of the results, men tend to put off the screening for prostate cancer. 

“Most men don’t realize that they can get screened for prostate cancer with just a blood test,” he says. “It’s quick and simple – and it could save your life.”

Rev is adamant that his message be heard particularly in the African-American community, where the occurrence of prostate cancer is more prevalent as compared to other ethnicities. 

As a high school educator and member of the clergy, Rev has the platform to be able to spread the word to men of all ages. In his classroom, he speaks from personal experience about the importance of taking preventative health into one’s own hands. He encourages the young people he teaches to not only remember his advice when it comes time for their own screenings, but to encourage their parents and grandparents to take seriously the importance of preventative care. 

His dedication to this important message has been noticed. University Hospitals has featured him in an article on their website and a public service video message, both of which can be viewed here.

Childs also feels blessed to have been able to promote early screenings during the Cleveland Browns’ Crucial Catch, an NFL partnership with the American Cancer Society. The campaign raises funds for research and highlights cancer’s significant impact on underserved communities. Through this program, he was recognized at an October 2023 Browns game, where he was also surprised on the field with two tickets to Superbowl LVIII in Las Vegas. 

Rev and his wife, Loretta Childs, who also works at Lutheran East as the school’s Alumni Director and Assistant Athletic Director, made the trip to Vegas for the February 11 game. 

Before leaving, Rev was interviewed by Spectrum News 1 Ohio, Channel 3 WKYC, and Channel 19 News. When each reporter asked him if he was excited about going to the Superbowl, he replied, “Sure, I’m excited about the game and all that comes with it. But what I’m really excited about is getting this message out, and making sure that other men get preventative screenings that can not only save their own lives, but ensure that they’re here in their families lives for many years to come.”

A man of strong faith and strong conviction, Rev’s message isn’t only about preventative care – it’s also about allowing God to use whatever challenges He gives us to create positive change in our lives and the lives of others. He has chosen not to fall into the negative mindset that can come with a cancer diagnosis – instead, he has chosen to trust in God’s plan, never once doubting that sharing his story is a way for God to use him to spread awareness and prevention. 

As Rev says, “I went through something. I didn’t get stuck in it.”

Link to Channel 3 WKYC Story

Link to Channel 19 News Story

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