MADISON (WKOW) — People around the world are still in shock over the death of Chadwick Boseman, after four years with colon cancer.
Black Americans have the highest rates of colorectal cancer of any racial group in the US, according to the American Cancer Society.
For black men, those rates are about 10 percent higher than in white men.
Sunday in Madison, a group of cyclists dedicated a black men’s health ride in Boseman’s memory.
“Our goal this morning was to dedicate the first 4.3 miles in memory of Chadwick Boseman,” said Aaron Perry, a local leader in the advancement of black men’s health.
He was shocked when he heard that Chadwick Boseman had died of colon cancer, especially at such a young age. He was just 43 when he died Friday.
“He was such a young, fit man, just a lovely soul that we saw play out in all of his movies,” Perry said.
Colon cancer affects the African American community more than their white counterparts. That’s why screening is so important.
Perry says it’s recommended to start screenings at 50, but Boseman was diagnosed at 39.
“You’re starting to read that African American men are dying at such a younger age, or getting this at such a younger age. The medical community has to catch up with that,” Perry said.
Perry founded the Rebalanced Life Wellness Association in Madison, and has been globally-recognized for his work.
Through all of that, his message is to stay on top of your health.
Of the men at the ride, two said they had been screened for colon cancer, including Fred Conley.
“So I love to exercise, and I tell my brothers to exercise, you know, watch your blood pressure because most of us got like kids and grandkids and we want to be around for them,” Conley said.
That’s why Perry continues to hold his Black Men Run and Black Men Cycling groups, to start diversifying the look of health in Madison.
“You’ll see African American men jogging. You’ll see them doing the triathlons. You’ll see us on our bikes taking advantage of these beautiful bike paths to inspire our younger men, younger boys that are out here that they can start taking care of their health,” he said.