Charles D. Brooks, the Seventh-day Adventist pastor and evangelist and speaker/director emeritus of Breath of Life television ministry, has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Better known as C. D. Brooks, the popular preacher has served the Adventist Church for over sixty years in public ministry.
On February 3, Huntsville, Alabama-based Breath of Life dedicated its weekly Wednesday-noon Prayer Call telephone conference to prayers for healing on Brooks’s behalf.
Brooks was Breath of Life’s featured speaker for 23 years from the ministry’s start in 1974. Pastor and recording artist Walter Arties conceived of the ministry as a way to provide guidance and hope to African-American audiences through television programming.
Earlier in his career, Brooks pastored Adventist congregations in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Ohio. He joined the Columbia Union Conference as a general field secretary, and later served as a general field secretary for the General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists.
Brooks held numerous public evangelistic meetings throughout the United States and on six continents, all told. During his time with Breath of Life, he conducted four evangelistic campaigns a year, raising up thirteen Breath of Life churches in the process.
Brooks retired from public ministry in 1996 citing health problems. He continued accepting speaking engagements that did not require air travel.
His recent diagnosis is cause for serious concern. Pancreatic cancer accounts for about 3% of all cancers in the US, and accounts for about 7% of cancer deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. The average lifetime risk of developing pancreatic cancer is about 1 in 67 (1.5%). The risk of developing pancreatic cancer is higher for men than women, and increases with age. Two thirds of those diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are over 65. The average age of diagnosis is 71. Rates are higher among African-Americans, though the reasons are unclear.
Pancreatic cancer has the highest mortality rate of all major cancers. 94% of pancreatic cancer patients succumb within five years of diagnosis – only 8% survive more than five years, according to American Cancer Society data. Pancreatic cancer claims the lives of 74% of patients within the first year of diagnosis.
In the face of those hard realities, Breath of Life is rallying the community in support of C. D. Brooks and praying for a miracle.
Jared Wright is Managing Editor of SpectrumMagazine.org.
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