In 1999, David Marks finished up his second stint with The Beach Boys: his demons had finally caught up to him. David, suffering from liver problems, was diagnosed with Hepatitis C and given six months to a year to live unless he made some drastic changes - namely conquering his alcohol addiction.
The pharmaceutical treatment in the late 90's, which included daily injections and terrible side effect, only had a 10% success rate. Facing those statistics, David chose to wait for promising new developments towards a cure before attempting an anti-vial treatment.
While biding time for the Western pharmaceuticals to clear early rounds of testing, David embarked on an holistic approach which included herbal supplements and Chinese Medicine. David embraced sobriety and focused on treating food as medicine: nothing went in his body unless it boosted the immune system or promoted liver health. He also regularly monitored the disease's progression with his gastroenterologist.
During this time, David began working to raise awareness for the Hep C Hope Foundation. The disease often carries an unfair social stigma, so become one of the first celebrities to speak openly about the Hepatitis C. David lobbied on behalf of the cause in both Washington DC and on a state level in New York.
In 2003, David began seeing Dr Robert Brown at Presbyterian Hospital and was immediately put into a clinical trial for a Pegasys and Copegus study. David underwent the combination therapy for one year and was declared virus free at the end of the study; he has been virus free since 2004 and remains so.
While undergoing treatment, David began working with the American Gastroenterological Association as the spokesmen for their Hep C SMART campaign. He later went on to work with Hoffman LaRoche Pharmaceuticals and the British National Health Services on multiple major media campaigns across the US and Great Britain, reaching millions around the world and saving lives.
David's message is clear: Hepatitis C is often referred to as a "silent killer", so learn the risk factors for Hepatitis C. If you have any of the risk factors, ask your doctor for a simple blood test; if your blood test comes back positive, seek treatment. Hepatitis C is a very curable virus and no longer the death sentence it once was. In the many years since David's treatment, the cure rates have gone from 10% to 90%. While there is still more work to be done, David's original mission has been realized: there is Hope for those living with Hep C.