SCE’s Dave Ford Advocates for Early Detection and Cancer Prevention

Annemarie DonkinBy Annemarie Donkin      November 11, 2022

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SCE’s Dave Ford Advocates for Early Detection and Cancer Prevention
Dave Ford at the White House spoke about Vice President Kamala Harris’ initiative of advocating for early cancer detection and prevention, especially among men of color.
Dave Ford is the Southern California Edison (SCE)spokesman in Topanga for fires, earthquakes, downed trees, PSPS events and all things electrical. Yet, it was his personal fight against colon and prostate cancer that drove him to advocate for early detection and prevention, especially for men of color. As Senior Government Relations Manager, for SCE, he is truly hands-on for Topanga. He participates in quarterly Topanga Emergency Management Task Force meetings, explains the details of SCE’s undergrounding project in Topanga while answering residents’ questions about downed trees, tree removals, pole replacements and PSPS events. Ford also manages relationships with government municipalities, including federal, state, and county governments that include Los Angeles, the County Board of Supervisors, Metro, and helps develop strategic initiatives to promote awareness of a clean energy future. Yet, for Ford, there is another serious cause that drives him. Cancer—A Spokesman for Early Detection and Prevention Ford’s personal battle with cancer began in 2014 when his doctor suggested he undergo a routine colonoscopy for prescreening and early detection. Instead of getting a colonoscopy right away, however, Ford waited three months. Unfortunately, during that time delay, Ford developed a tumor that ruptured in his colon. To prevent the cancer from spreading, Ford had emergency surgery resulting in having 18-inches of his colon removed. From that point, Ford determined to make it his life’s mission, or as he calls it, his responsibility, to reach out to others who may be putting off prescreening for cancer. Again, just three years later, during a routine physical, Ford had a blood test that indicated an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) level. After a biopsy, the doctors confirmed he had prostate cancer, a type of cancer that, according to the American Cancer Society (ACS), will be diagnosed in about 1 in 8 men, and resulted in about 34,500 deaths in 2022. This time, Ford underwent radiation therapy, which was not necessary after his surgery for colon cancer. The treatment worked and he now lives cancer free. He credits the PSA test and his doctors for saving his life, “I think that sharing my experience, and the more I reflect on my journey, that prescreening, and regular checkups help more people,” Ford said. “We are seeing a level of cancer that is becoming more challenging, especially during COVID, that prevented people from getting physicals—cancer is significant among all races. Educating people on early detection will often lead to a better path to treatment, remission, or to eradicate it altogether.” The American Cancer Society After his battle with cancer, Ford was determined to advocate for cancer prevention. He joined theACS as a speaker to conduct further community outreach and regularly speaks on the importance of theses essential lifesaving procedures, especially for Black men. His leadership at the American Cancer Society includes: National Board Member, American Cancer Society—Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN) Los Angeles Area ACS Board Member since 2019 Co-lead, Southern California Edison “Relay For Life” Team with the ACS, raising more than $20,000 in 2022 National Spokesperson for ACS, including national virtual panels and events from 2020 through 2022 “The American Cancer Society is honored to have a passionate advocate like Dave Ford who shares his personal cancer experiences and encourages people to learn more about cancer screenings that could save their life,” said Dan Witzling, ACS Senior Executive Director, Los Angeles area. “Dave’s work is especially important for communities of color that often face additional barriers to cancer prevention and care due to health inequities.” In addition to the ACS, Dave Ford is a member of several strategic and philanthropical boards, including the LA Philharmonic, American Association of Blacks in Energy, and the Greater Los Angeles African American Chamber Educational Foundation. “This is my engagement, talking to churches, community groups and local organizations about awareness, education and prescreening,” Ford said. Throughout his career, Ford has applied these principles personally and professionally and was recognized as the 2020 Impact Maker to Watch. The Impact award is an annual distinction for those doing foundational work to positively impact Los Angeles. Ford was also named to the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network’s national board of directors in 2021 and continues to raise cancer awareness from his home in Los Angeles. “I think the most important thing is love yourself, love your family and get prescreened,” he said. “That’s the gift that you can give to yourself and your family.”
Annemarie Donkin
      November 11, 2022

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