Health Team

NC Bar Association executive director determined to beat cancer

Posted August 14, 2015 5:18 p.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2015 9:59 p.m. EDT

For 41 years Allan Head has served as executive director of the North Carolina Bar Association and its foundation.

In addition to his many years of service with the N.C. Bar Association, Head was a long-time with public address announcer for Wake Forest University football games. He’s currently filling the same role at football games for Broughton High School.

Last year, after announcing his plans to retire in 2017, he lost about 12 pounds without trying.

“Everybody likes to lose weight and I was happy about that, but I knew that that was something to be worried about,” Head said.

A series of tests revealed that he had Stage 4 kidney cancer. In October, he turned to the Duke Cancer Center to begin the fight.

Head said the staff at Duke was very helpful with his treatment.

“The immediate surgery was to take out a kidney and they did,” he said. “There was also a lesion on my spine; there was one on my lungs, on the adrenal gland.”

Head said knew he and his wife, Patti, needed more than good medicine—they needed support, and not just from their immediate family.

“A family at work, a family at church, a family at the YMCA—all of which supports you and surrounds you with love and hugs and prayers,” Head said. “We realized that we were going to need that.”

Along with standard radiation and chemotherapy, he received special immunotherapy as part of clinical trials.

Head said he’s been able to return to work, something that many are unable to do.

“Fortunately, I have been able to work every day, all day,” he said. “A lot of people can't do that.”

Head said he's optimistic about beating the cancer. But regardless, he's thankful to be part of cancer research that may help others moving forward.

“Isn't it all about paying it forward and trying to help other people along the way?” he said.