Joseph Greene, an active member of the McDuffie Relay for Life effort, has shared his personal story of cancer survival on the American Cancer Society's web site, www.cancer.org.
"I was so impressed with his story," said Peggy Willis, spokesperson for the McDuffie County Relay for Life.
"He is one of the reasons I decided to become a teacher," said Ms. Willis, who took some of Dr. Greene's classes at Augusta State University while she was a student.
A professor of finance and economics, Dr. Greene has been a visiting guest in Ms. Willis classroom where he spoke to students about their goals in life.
Dr. Greene is "incredibly inspiring," Ms. Willis said, and his work with the Relay has helped raise money for cancer research and education.
Dr. Greene staunchly supports the annual effort scheduled for Friday and Saturday, May 13 and 14 this year.
"It brings out the community en masse. It's one of the most important community activities for a worthy cause we have in Thomson," Dr. Greene said.
The Relay speaks volumes about the love and concern people share, said Dr. Greene who has long been an advocate for cancer awareness and prevention and who chronicled his family's struggle with the disease through interviews with The Atlanta Journal Constitution and the American Cancer Society.
Several members of Dr. Greene's family have battled colon cancer, including himself, his brother, Solomon, and sister, Christine, who died from the disease.
"I often say that my sister saved my life with her death," Dr. Greene said in the web site interview. "If she had not died at such a young age, I wouldn't have gotten screened when I did. By the time I developed symptoms, it would have been too late. I, too, would have died from this disease."
He was diagnosed in 1982 with colon cancer, and also underwent treatment for lymphoma. For six years, Dr. Greene has been cancer-free, and has been conveying a message of early detection and a healthy lifestyle wherever he goes.
There is a strong bond among cancer survivors that stretches across all racial, ethnic and socio-economic boundaries, he said.
"One thing that connects us all is supporting and caring for each other. We all simply celebrate having come through cancer. Surviving is a wonderful gift," he said.
Colorectal cancer will affect more than 100,000 Americans this year and more than half will die although it has a 90 percent survival rate if detected early, according to the web site.
African-Americans are especially at risk for colon cancer, which is the focus of National Minority Cancer Awareness Week April 17-23.
ON THE NET