Mellve A. Shahid, Sr., a 13-year prostate cancer survivor, is the Founder and Board President of the Empowerment Network, Inc. in St. Louis, MO. In 2005, he retired from the Chrysler Corporation after 32 years of service. While at Chrysler he founded Unique Painting and Decorating which has been operating successfully for the past 33 years.
In March 2007, after having no sick days in his life, he was diagnosed with Stage 2 prostate cancer and given two years to live. He recounts his story, “On the operating table, I asked God to heal my body, restore my health and give me a second chance. I promised to fight prostate cancer and advocate for victims and survivors. I begged for my Life. All I want to do is keep my promise to God. I just want to be a helper and humble servant to those who need my help”. It was a pledge, a covenant, a divine oath. He believes in his vision and says he would give his life for this cause. Shahid says God has answered his prayer.
Shahid developed The Empowerment Network (TEN) in February 2008 on his basement floor with his late Co-Founder, Isadore Wayne. Both being cancer survivors, they created what they could not find in their neighborhood…a source for information about prostate cancer. Within months, TEN grew to over one-hundred men. In 2009 and 2010, respectively, TEN was the American Cancer Society’s Harold P. Freeman Award recipient for establishing its Cancer Education and Information Center and creating a monthly Support Group for survivors in the community. Today, TEN has nearly six hundred members.
Shahid’s vision led him to produce a weekly radio program on a local AM station. It began in 2008 and went on hiatus in 2017. It was a live, call-in format with invited guests from the medical, financial and survivor community. The listener ship approached 25,000 weekly by the end of the eighth year.
Prostate cancer was raised to the Missouri State Government level in 2008. Shahid’s desire to share knowledge about prostate cancer with all men in the state began with a conversation with a State Legislator who filed a bill to identify, treat and track uninsured and underinsured men aged 35+ years of age. The focus was to determine the prevalence of prostate cancer in the state in order to create a program of intervention. After several iterations in the House, the bill was passed in the Senate and became law in 2011.
For the past 12 years, Shahid has received yearly awards and recognitions for his involvement in broadcasting the scourge of prostate cancer in the community and creating strategic medical, corporate, public and university partnerships that broaden that message in the St. Louis region.