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Brock now faces his own health battle

  • New battle: Bermudian Marvin Brock and his wife, Erica Toussaint. After nearly 20 years of fighting to save son Mihdi’s life from a debilitiating disease, Brock has had prostate cancer diagnosed (Photograph supplied)

Marvin Brock experienced firsthand how the kindness of strangers helped save his son’s life.

Now the Bermudian has appealed for help again — this time to save his own life after he had stage four prostate cancer diagnosed.

Mr Brock, 70, said: “We managed to save Mihdi’s life. It would be sad if I cannot save my own because of finances.”

He explained that the cancer was found in February as he was prepared for gallbladder surgery.

Erica Toussaint, his wife, described it as a “one two punch”.

She added: “It was a shock for us to think that our only eight-year-old marriage would be shortened by the onset of cancer.”

A scan showed that the disease, a fast-growing and aggressive form of cancer that affects black men in particular, had already spread to his spine.

Cancer specialists gave Mr Brock two years to live without surgery or treatment and “possibly an additional 18 months with therapy”.

Mr Brock said: “The therapy is called hormone therapy, but that is actually castration.”

He explained that the side effects would rob him of his quality of life.

He added: “For me, for an additional 18 months, it just didn’t make sense.”

Mr Brock, a student of classical Chinese medicine, turned to Asian medicine because “that is what saved my son”.

Mihdi Joon Brock was born with progressive kyphoscoliosis — curvature of the spine — and several other health problems.

Doctors predicted he would not reach the age of 10ten.

Mr Brock led a yearslong campaign to raise funds for his son’s care and treatment, which included traditional eastern medicine.

Ms Toussaint said: “Marvin was able to see and participate in that. That’s why he decided to study that.”

Mr Brock started studying at the College of Classical Chinese Medicine at the National University of Natural Medicine in Portland two years ago.

He had to drop out just before his final exams and is now focused on his treatment, which the couple said they had struggled to afford.

Mr Brock said all his resources went to caring for his son, who will celebrate his 21st birthday this month.

Ms Toussaint added that, because Mihdi needed care around the clock, Mr Brock was unable to work.

She said: “So, now, at the end of his life, we don’t have the financial foundations others may have.”

Mr Brock said his treatment is not covered by insurance because it does not conform to the Western medical methods.

Ms Toussaint pointed out that Chinese medicine had been used by millions of people for more than 8,000 years.

She added: “Each round of treatment costs $5,000, not including travel and accommodation.”

Mr Brock started treatment with Dr Baolin Wu in Santa Monica, California, two weeks after his gallbladder surgery.

He left Bermuda to return to Santa Monica yesterday to start the next round of treatment.

Mr Brock said: “It’s a very interesting experience because I could not have dreamt this, I could not have created this.”

Ms Toussaint explained that Mr Brock’s treatment involves acupuncture, herbs and Qi Gong — a mind-body practice to improve mental and physical health.

She added that Mr Brock’s urologist, oncologist and GP were all very supportive of his decision to use Chinese medicine because they had no other options to offer.

Mr Brock said Dr Wu, who also treated his son, was hopeful of a cure.

He explained that Dr Wu agreed with his Chinese doctor in Portland that the stresses of saving his son’s life had weakened his body, allowing the cancer to thrive.

Mr Brock said Dr Wu had urged him to focus on being happy, in addition to the other prescribed treatment.

The couple said they hoped that the treatment would work and Mr Brock could complete his studies.

He said the school was happy to take him back as soon as he got the all-clear from his doctors.

Friends of the couple have set up a GoFundMe page, which has raised more than $7,000.