Documentary chronicles fight against prostate cancer - KMSP-TV

FOX Medical Team

Documentary chronicles fight against prostate cancer

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An email out of the blue from one fraternity brother to hundreds of others changed Reggie Hicks' life.

Two weeks before he sent that email in January of 2007, Ralph Franklin was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer, and given about a 15 percent chance of survival.

Ralph's email was so honest and so frank that Hicks was drawn in, convinced people all over the country need to hear what Ralph Franklin had to say.

After almost 30 years in public broadcasting, Hicks, WCLK FM's director of development knows a good story when he hears one.

When he got this email from a fellow Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity brother he'd never met, it was so honest that Reggie knew there was something there.

The email was written by Ralph Franklin who'd just been diagnosed with prostate cancer.
 
"I just felt like this was a story that needed to be told, that I was so moved by his e-mail," said Hicks.
 
So Reggie - who'd never made a documentary before - asked Ralph if he'd be willing to share his story,   
 
"He said, 'Ralph, what I'm talking about is going to change your life'. I said, 'Reggie, my life has been changed already,'" said Franklin.

The documentary, "If You Are My Brothers," follows Ralph through his treatments and producing it taught Reggie a lot about perseverance and prostate cancer.
 
"It affects a lot of men, a lot of African-American men. I also learned thought that it doesn't have to be a death sentence," said Hicks.

Reggie was getting his own PSA level checks and a couple of times they'd been a little elevated, which can be a warning sign of prostate problems.

"I thought, 'wow, this will be great for the documentary. Here's the producer. I'll get checked. I wasn't that worried because my PSA wasn't that high, I didn't have any symptoms at all," Hicks said.

But Reggie's storyline suddenly changed as he and his wife learned that he, too, had prostate cancer.
   
"That is the most ironic part of this documentary, it is, it is it's fascinating," Franklin said. "When he found out it's like, 'What!'"

Almost overnight, Ralph went from being Reggie's documentary subject to his guide, coaching him through the treatment.

"Because when you have gone through it, you can tell other men specifically, 'this is going to happen and this is going to happen and this is going to happen,'" Franklin said.

Almost two years after his diagnosis, Reggie Hicks is cancer free and the documentary of how Ralph's story became his story is almost finished. He is hoping to have the documentary finished by September.

He'll be distributing in through churches and community groups.

Ralph is still in treatment and is participating in a clinical trial at the Cleveland Clinic. He says he feels blessed to be here today.

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