Willie Pace

Willie Pace

Still Keeping Up the Pace

As the buildings and grounds supervisor for the Macon County Commission, Willie Pace is a hard-working man. At 62, he feels good, works all day, and doesn’t feel tired. In fact, he claims to never have been sick. He stopped eating refined sugar in the 70s, cut back on red meat, and eats a lot of green. He’ll throw a bunch of raw veggies, an onion, and a whole orange—peel and all—into a blender for a healthy “daiquiri.” And if he has an ache in a joint or cuts himself, he rubs it with his home remedy: hot sauce and whiskey. “When you think about it,” explains Willie. “A lot of arthritis medication has hot peppers and alcohol. I rub a little of that on, and I’m good to go!”

So it’s no wonder that Willie didn’t have a family doctor. Which is why, three years ago, he decided to have a free screening when EAMC held a health fair in Union Springs. The results indicated prostate problems. “I went to see Dr. Rajan at EAMC, and tests showed I had prostate cancer,” remembers Willie. “Then I had a colonoscopy that revealed cancerous polyps in my colon.” Six months later, Willie had surgery to remove a section of his colon, followed by six months of chemotherapy to treat his colon cancer, which apparently also treated his prostate cancer. “I was lucky and I guess I’m strong. I never lost weight during chemo, didn’t lose my hair, didn’t really have any problems. And my prostate numbers came down, so today I’m feeling pretty good, I don’t take any medications, and my doctor and I are in a ‘watch and see’ mode. It’s been three years and I don’t have any problems. All I can say is: So far, so good!”

According to Chelsea Kroll, who oversees the EAMC prostate and colorectal screening programs for the underserved, the program is a valuable community service. “Early detection is the best protection,” explains Chelsea. “A lot of the men we test either don’t have a doctor or don’t follow up with their doctor. In Mr. Pace’s case, he had insurance, but simply didn’t have a doctor. So conducting free screenings at health fairs and events gives many men in our area their only indication that they may have cancer. We’re very grateful that the EAMC Foundation supports this program and thank the many people who give to the Foundation to make it possible.”