The world in general and Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition in particular lost a great champion with the passing of Ken Stevens, one of GPCC’s co-founders.
Born in Wyoming and raised in Colorado, Ken attended the University of Colorado on an athletic scholarship. He planned to be a running back on the football team and he was an accomplished wrestler. Both sports left him with skills that he would use later in life. He left school before graduation and enlisted in the Marine Corps. He was proud of his service although an injury in service football effectively ended his hopes for a post-service collegiate career. After military service, he returned to the University of Colorado where he met Carol, the wonderful lady who would be his wife for 57 years.
Fast forward from his degree in Physics at the University of Denver to Huntsville, AL. Ken and family moved there to support the Apollo Space program with his electronics and computer skills. A few years later, he became a metro Atlanta resident when joined a Tucker, GA computer firm as a regional computer sales lead.
With a wife and four sons, life was good. Then at age 53, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. The year was 1986, well ahead of widespread use of the PSA test. He was treated and led an active life for 29 subsequent years. Motivated to make a difference, he worked tirelessly with the American Cancer Society educating others about prostate cancer. He later joined other prostate cancer survivors and co-founded the Georgia Prostate Cancer Coalition in 2000. Although he wrestled with subsequent prostate cancer complications, he refused to be blocked or tackled by them.
Over time, he became a go-to spokesperson for information about prostate cancer awareness in the Atlanta metro area. He became a walking library about prostate cancer and could often speak from personal experience on new developments and treatments. He was equally at home with groups whether there were 5 or 155 people. His network of contacts was immense as was the esteem in which he was held by health and organizational people.
Ken’s dedication to prostate cancer education pushed him to recruit and mentor others in the effort to raise awareness of prostate cancer. His loss leaves us with a great gap. At the same time, his educational legacy lives through the people he inspired to join and to participate in GPCC activities. Those who knew and worked with him were fortunate. Let us continue the effort he started. In the process, we will improve the health and wellbeing of many fellow Georgians and pay tribute to Ken for his years of participation and inspiration to others.