For anyone who may have attended Pink Lemonade’s Pink Glow event in May 2022 they might remember the DJ who took the mic for a minute and shared his story – that he is a breast cancer survivor. Kelvin Woods is a guy whose personality can light up a room or for this writer felt on the receiving end of a phone conversation. Kelvin is magnetic, energetic and passionate about what he perceives as his new found mission in life having fought breast cancer and won!
For so many of us we automatically connect a breast cancer diagnosis with women, but we know that breast cancer can impact men but not too many are willing to be so public about it. A man like Kelvin is in a perfect position to make the message resonate with men but also more importantly in his mind, with men (and women) of color. In fact, Kelvin uses his own personal journey to preach his platform: that all men need to adopt a better regimen of being proactive in their personal health period! He speaks freely about men and their “macho” attitude interjecting words like “invincible”, “denial” or being highly likely to be the first to “dismiss” when something seems off. He finds himself repeating his all time favorite line: “Men need to quit thinking that they can fix everything with duct tape!”
He admits that when he first found a bump that felt like a small pebble near his right nipple in 2014, he was one of “those guys.” He likened it to a bug bite or something else and was quick to dismiss it, thinking it would go away. When he did go to a doctor and received a prescription for Tamoxifen, he did some research about the medicine and found this drug was one used for cancer treatment. He quickly followed up with another specialist and received a Stage 2 breast cancer diagnosis and soon after that began his treatment journey which included surgery and chemotherapy.
His experience changed his perspective on lots of things. One of Kelvin’s life’s passions is music and creating a lively and fun environment through his work as a DJ. He wanted to give back to the community that he now found himself to be a member of and reached out to the Susan G. Komen organization in Portland, familiar with their Race for the Cure and inquired if they might be interested in having a DJ at the finish line. The organizers had no idea of his personal connection to breast cancer but jumped at the chance to have music for the thousands of participants and supporters attending at the event. Kelvin reflects about that specific opportunity for him to connect with other survivors and their families sealed the deal in terms of him forever being a voice for breast cancer with a focus on delivering that message to men in particular but it applies to everyone. “Making health a priority and being personally proactive” are indeed Kelvin’s words to live by.
The power of a message
The power of music
The powerful impact of a guy like Kelvin Woods
His gift to our community!