ORLANDO, Fla. – Central Florida and the world are remembering actor Chadwick Boseman.
Boseman was known for his iconic roles playing Jackie Robinson in “42″ and Marvel’s “Black Panther.”
The 43-year-old passed away Friday after a four-year battle with colon cancer.
His death is now shining a light on the disease and how it disproportionately affects the Black community.
Liz Taylor of Viera says she admired Chadwick Boseman’s bravery to keep going and even star in major films, despite his colon cancer diagnosis. She said his death was a reminder of her own diagnosis four years ago. She’s now cancer-free after undergoing chemo and surgery.
“It really hit home when I heard that he passed away and he struggled long too,” said Taylor. “When I was diagnosed, I had ignored symptoms for many, many years.”
According to the American Cancer Society, African Americans are 20% more likely to get colon cancer and 40% more likely to die from it.
Peggie Burgess held back tears talking about her sister who she said died in 2003 from stage 4 colon cancer. She was only 48 years old.
“I actually watched her become like an infant, like I was the parent and she was the child,” said Burgess. “It’s a disease that completely strips you.”
It’s why she opened the Center for Change in Pine Hills, educating minorities about colon and prostate cancer, prevention and getting regular screenings.
“We can die from this, and you don’t have to be 55 and older,” said Burgess.
Dr. Ahmad El-Far from Orlando Health said 45 is the typical age to begin regular screenings, but if you have risk factors or a family history of colon cancer, you should get checked sooner.
“Everyone should be aware about the risks and start screening as soon as possible since we all know prevention here is key,” Ahmad El-Far said.
You can find more info on prevention and risk factors here.