He collapsed while on a book tour, lost consciousness, and was rushed to hospital.
When he gained consciousness two weeks later, he had already been through numerous tests and scans which revealed he had brain tumor.
Then his doctor, in the presence of his wife, broke the sad news; “You will not live past 2004. You have terminal brain cancer.”
This was in 2002, and Richard Brodsky was just recovering from the trauma following discovery that he was HIV positive five years earlier.
Instead of squandering his savings from his architecture work, Richard wore a brave face, and told his wife Jodi that he was not ready to die.
“Our three daughters were still young, and I could not imagine not being there for them during their weddings,” said Richard.
Richard M. Brodsky Foundation
In 2003, a year before his predicted date of death, Richard founded Richard M. Brodsky Foundation, and begun to raise money for his treatment, and share with other cancer patients.
In the same year, he participated in the New York City Marathon.
In 2004, his predicted year of death, he went international, and ran World Aids Marathon in Mbita, Homa Bay County, in Kenya. He did not die.
And 20 years after brain cancer diagnosis, Richard and his wife have dedicated their lives to helping HIV Aids and cancer patients get medication through their foundation.
In November 2021, the couple visited Jiu Pachi Community Based Organization in Nyamasaria, Kisumu County, where they met children living with HIV.
According to Richard, his story is a true testimony that with proper medication and healthy living practices, one can beat cancer and HIV.
“I still visit the hospital for tests and scans, but being alive 18 years after your predicted death is no laughing matter. I am yet to meet the doctor who predicted my death, but I hope I will meet him and share a smile,” he said.
When the news about brain cancer was broken by the doctor, Jodi had to abandon everything to give her husband care and desired company.
“It was difficult to break this news to our three daughters who were in school,” said Jodi.
To make it worse, Richard was just healing from the stigma of having been diagnosed with HIV in 1997.
According to Richard, despite having been diagnosed with HIV Aids, he kept the news a top secret, until in the year 2000 when he published a book about his living with the virus.
He then begun a book tour within and outside America, telling his story, and providing a learning avenue for those who had been living in denial.
“I am lucky that I got proper medication, and the tumor was removed from my head. The doctors who removed it told me it was not as bad as had been predicted by the previous doctors, and that with proper treatment I would beat it,” he said.
And it was two years into the book tour, in 2002, that he one day collapsed while signing a book, and taken to hospital where he was diagnosed with cancer, adding salt to his healing injury.
Richard admits that his life priorities changed, and he had to look at life differently. He dedicated much of his time to community work, and raising funds to help other people.
Today, Richard is still strong in actual life, in what could be life after death if the doctor’s prediction had come to pass.
Eunice Owino, the Director of Jiu Pachi CBO says Richard’s story has been an inspiration to the other 10, 000 HIV Aids victims supported by her organization within Kisumu East.
“Our organization was also founded in 2004 to help fight the stigma which came with HIV Aids, and we had to defy all the odds to openly discuss it, and we have seen the efforts bear fruits as awareness has increased and people are practicing management measures,” she added.