Sterling K. Brown on ‘Survivorship Today’ series highlighting cancer survivors: ‘The only time we have is now’

Brown, the "Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul." and "This Is Us" star, helms the video series created by Bristol Myers Squibb.

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Fresh off his leading role in the upcoming film “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.,” Emmy Award-winning actor Sterling K. Brown opened up to theGrio about his “Survivorship Today” series, which features cancer survivors across the country.

For years now, the “This is Us” actor has partnered with Bristol Myers Squibb for “Survivorship Today: What It’s Like to Live with Cancer,” in which Brown connects with cancer survivors all across the country, helping to amplify their stories, challenges and triumphs. The collaboration is a personal one for Brown — who lost his Uncle Sonny from cancer back in 2004 — and one that has illuminated and inspired him, he told TheGrio.

Sterling K. Brown attends a special screening of “Honk for Jesus. Save Your Soul.” at Plaza Theatre last Friday in Atlanta. (Photo: Paras Griffin/Getty Images for Focus Features)

“I’ve had the great honor of speaking to many cancer survivors through my video series with ‘Survivorship Today,’ and it’s helped me understand what it’s like to live long-term with cancer,” Brown said. “The hope is that the stories we tell through this program will help someone feel less alone or help someone show up for a person in their life who is surviving cancer.”

Through meeting with these cancer survivors, Brown is able to see in real life just how far we have come in terms of treating and battling cancer — ever since the passing of his uncle.

“The fact that we’re even talking about living with cancer shows just how much progress has been made in addressing the disease,” he added. “When my Uncle Sonny was diagnosed in 2004, it was a very different situation, and he passed away after only six months. My family was devastated, and I wish something like ‘Survivorship Today’ existed then.”

There are also variations in how cancer affects some communities and individuals, Brown has discovered.

“I’ve learned through ‘Survivorship Today’ that cancer affects everyone differently, and some communities face a larger burden than others,” he explained. “For example, Black Americans have the highest death and shortest survival rate of any racial and ethnic group in the U.S. for most cancers. Amy, who is Asian-American, told me it felt taboo to even mention the word ‘cancer’ in her family. She talks about that in her videos on the website.”

For more on the “Survivorship Today” series, their mission and more, head to their official website here.

“The stories we share at SurvivorshipToday.com are a source of endless inspiration for me,” Brown concluded. “And while I’ve learned that surviving cancer comes with challenges — and no two cancer survivor experiences are identical — there’s also a joie de vivre and a carpe diem mentality that’s shared among this community. It is a wonderful reminder that the only time we have is now.”

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