By: Mary Duggan
(April 25, 2017 — Annapolis, Md.) Ten years ago, a friend asked Chesapeake Urology President and CEO Dr. Sanford Siegel, “What are you going to do to help the people of the inner city?”
It was this crucial question that sparked an idea that would change lives.
Today, giving back is an integral aspect of the Chamber member’s company culture. Chesapeake Urology is the premier urology group in the country, and now, all of its physicians contribute their time and expertise freely to those who are in need by raising awareness, organizing fundraisers and providing free prostate cancer screenings.
“We have a culture conducive to making people proud of what they do every day,” said Siegel. “Our focus in giving back to the community gives people purpose beyond what their job is, and they get paid to do that.”
As an advocate for equality and accessible health care, Siegel founded the Great Prostate Cancer Challenge in 2007 to raise awareness about prostate cancer, fund research and honor survivors in the area. The race, now known as ZERO: The Project to End Prostate Cancer, is currently held in over 40 cities around the country.
“The first year, we did a run at St. Joseph’s Hospital,” Siegel recalled. “We had over 1,000 runners and raised $135,000. Last year, we had about 2,300 runners, 3,000 people at the race total, and raised approximately $520,000.”
Following the success of the Baltimore County race, Siegel was chatting with Howard Mazer of Radio One, an urban-oriented, multi-media company that primarily targets African-American consumers.This was the conversation that ultimately led to 8,000 prostate cancer screenings that may have otherwise
“We bring access to people in communities that don’t have a lot of physicians in the area and are unable to receive the healthcare they need,” Siegel explained. “Over the last 10 years, we’ve screened over 8,000 men for free, mostly in collaboration with the African-American faith-based community.”
According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, African-American men are 1.6 times more likely to develop prostate cancer, and twice as likely to die from it. Siegel has made it his mission to diagnose and treat these high-risk patients for free. When the disease is detected early through an elevated screening, it is easiest to treat and can be highly curable.
“It’s very rewarding when we go back to these churches every year and I hear people tell me, ‘Doc, if it wasn’t for that screening last year, I would have never known I had prostate cancer,’” Siegel shared. “I hear that often.”
From African-American fraternities on campus to homeless shelters in the city, Siegel is dedicated to helping any Marylander in need. His inspiring commitment to the community is not the result of his obligation as a doctor, but rather a selfless desire that comes from within.
“I was always disturbed by the lack of opportunity for many,” Siegel revealed. “I feel that we are really fortunate to do what we do every day and make a good living doing it. But, there are so many people out there who don’t have the accessibility to healthcare and I wanted to make a difference for them as well.”
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