Aug 04, 2023
Raheem Beyah flew in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport 52 times during a 10-month stretch in 2022. He’s become an airport regular through the years.
He’s learned the easiest places to park. The familiar faces of TSA. How to pack and move through security. The fastest way to walk from terminal to terminal.
He knows Hartsfield’s walkways like his home’s hallways, and every visit is as effortless and mindless as his commute to Georgia Tech.
Except for a return trip last August.
Instead of walking off the plane and along those familiar corridors, he was in a wheelchair. And in pain.
“It was humbling,” said Beyah, dean of Georgia Tech’s College of Engineering and Southern Company Chair. “I’m normally walking through the airport like I run the place. That day I saw elevators and hallways I didn’t know existed. It definitely changed my perspective.”
It was one minor change of perspective among many larger ones for Beyah in the last two years, when he discovered his own — and his family’s — resilience and courage, while also gaining a new outlook on life.
On that August afternoon, Beyah was returning from Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center. He’d had his prostate removed to excise cancer growing there, and he wasn’t yet sure if the surgery was a success.
A year later, Beyah is cancer free. And he wants to tell a story very few know in hopes of helping others who find themselves where he was. It’s a story of discovery, recovery, and lessons learned.
“You can beat prostate cancer,” he said, “but only if men drop their macho attitudes.”