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'I Don't Regret Working Hard But I Should've Prioritized My Health': Daymond John Speaks On His 5-Year Cancer Remission

The FUBU founder and Shark Tank investor speaks on why the Black community needs to invest in themselves in more ways than one.

“There’s an old saying: ‘A man with his health has 1,000 dreams,” Daymond John said back in 2017. “A man without his health only has one.’ No matter how successful you think you are, if you are not healthy, it doesn’t matter what money you make.”

Five years ago, the FUBU founder and Shark Tank investor revealed his thyroid cancer diagnosis. Now he has a clean bill of health.

“People can learn from some of the successes I’ve had in business but I don’t think people realize how much can be learned about the importance of health,” John shared with ESSENCE. “Particularly in being African American, we need to spotlight how important health is our community more. We have a lot of issues, but some of the issues are actually preventable.”

John spent years building a successful business portfolio and he said he wouldn’t change that. He sees now though that health should’ve been higher on his priority list.

“I don’t regret spending every waking hour that I have on building my business and sacrificing my health,” he told ESSENCE. “However many of us do feel, no matter what level of society are in, many of us do feel invincible as kids. That’s just what it is. But the difference in {Black people’s} upbringing and others is they have generational wealth and knowledge that says you have to take care of yourself.”

He acknowledged that care gaps are a socioeconomic issue—one that disproportionately affects Black communities and conversely deprioritizes health.

“Poor health is really an economic issue,” John said. “If you don’t have access to money, then you don’t have access to good health care and unprocessed foods.”

He also pointed out that the stress of entrepreneurship can lead to health issues as well when unchecked. He’s not wrong.

The Gallup Wellbeing Index reported that 45% of entrepreneurs said they are more stressed out compared to 42% of “other workers.” Entrepreneurs also said they being more likely to have “worried a lot.” This is concerning considering prolonged stress has been linked to increased chances of developing high blood pressure, diabetes and other physical health challenges.

John said he’s now an advocate for working just as hard to maintain your health as you would to meet your bottom line.

“Since going into remission I don’t mess around with my well-being,” he said, sharing he’d lost 40 pounds through diet and exercise. “I’ve built a life that I’m proud of and I want to be around for a long time to enjoy it.”