Radio personality Frankie Darcell delivered a message of empowerment Monday at Henry Ford Health System’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration, calling on people to use their own life story to “be the peace that the world needs to see.”
During a 20-minute keynote address, Darcell used her personal story as a breast cancer survivor and advocate to “not fear the fear” and to use your voice and experience to inspire change and “make the world just a little bit bigger” as Dr. King did so eloquently and fearlessly.
“You need to be able to do something in your family, with the women in your circle, the men in your circle, the people in your block, the folks in your neighborhood, the people on your job – that what you see that what you think should be a change, to be a change,” said Darcell, who is heard locally on the Mix 92.3 WMXD-FM and in Philadelphia and Boston.
Darcell was diagnosed with breast cancer after a routine mammogram in August 2017. Declaring herself cancer-free for 18 months and “doing well,” Darcell acknowledged she had to overcome a reluctance to use her radio platform to talk publicly about her cancer journey and educate women about the importance of mammograms and breast health.
“Dr. King once alluded to the fact that it wasn’t the loud voices of his enemies, it was the silence of his friends,” Darcell said. “So, for all of us, even when we’re afraid, we’ve got to be able to stand out on faith and say there’s something within me that I can share with the people around me to make the world just a little bit bigger.”
Darcell was introduced by her radiation oncologist, Eleanor Walker, M.D., director of Breast Radiation Oncology at the Henry Ford Cancer Institute.
In celebrating Dr. King’s legacy, Darcell called on those in the audience in the Buerki Auditorium at Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and team members and visitors watching via livestream at Henry Ford sites in Clinton Township, Detroit, Dearborn, Flint, Jackson, Rochester, Troy, West Bloomfield and Wyandotte to “have the audacity to be able to do something different with the power that we have, in the circles we’re in.”
The event marked Henry Ford’s 19th annual celebration in honor of Dr. King. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, M.D., senior vice president of Community Health & Equity and chief wellness and diversity officer, served as master of ceremonies.
In welcome remarks, Veronica Hall, R.N., president of Henry Ford Hospital, declared Henry Ford not only a health care provider and anchor institution in Detroit, but a “facilitator for positive change and promoting a community built on collaboration, diversity and inclusion.”
“Every decision we make is based on better serving our patients, team members and community. That is our greatest gift in honoring Dr. King’s legacy of equality and justice for all,” she said.
In closing remarks, Bob Riney, Henry Ford’s president of Healthcare Operations and chief operating officer, spoke of how Dr. King might view the country’s current tone of “messages of darkness, fear and division.”
“He would ask us to help each other to develop critical thinking skills," Riney said. "And what I mean by critical thinking skills is the ability to process stuff that’s coming at us from every direction and understand fact from fiction. I think he would challenge us to use each other as support – to say ‘what did you hear, what did you think about this.’ I think he would challenge us to use multiple sources to define our truth, our beliefs.”
The event also featured a spoken word performance by Mikhaella Norwood, daughter of Earlexia Norwood, M.D., service chief of Family Medicine at Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital, and a musical performance by the Marvin Jones Trio.
Remonia Chapman, program director of the Gift of Life and minority organ tissue transplant education program, was the recipient of the Health, Equity and Leadership, or HEAL, award for her contributions of more than 20 years raising awareness about the importance of organ and tissue donation in diverse populations across Michigan.
MEDIA CONTACT: David Olejarz / David.Olejarz@hfhs.org / 313.874.4094