In 2010, Dr. Bill Releford had made incredible strides in his medical career.
Nationally known as a foot and ankle surgeon, he had shared his skills overseas by organizing amputation prevention programs in Ghana, Uganda, Gabon, Fiji, and Brazil.
Even President Barack Obama was impressed and extended him an invitation to the White House Superbowl Party after learning about Releford’s Black Barbershop Health Outreach Program that aimed to reduce health disparities and cardiovascular disease among African American men.
News about his work splashed across the media, resulting in Releford being featured on CNN, “The View,” “NBC Nightly News” and in Black Enterprise.
Who suspected that all of his positive efforts would shatter away two years later when he was indicted for falsely acquiring a business loan 13 years earlier. Sentenced to federal prison for 24 months, Releford was devastated that all of his good works appeared to be in vain.
Admitting his guilt, he said, “I take full responsibility for what I did. I fumbled the ball. I made a bad mistake and bad business decisions that culminated into prison.”
Releford’s missteps could have ended his future, but instead, he decided to redeem himself and “redefine what’s happening. The world says Dr. Releford went to prison. I can say I had an opportunity to get better and to get more connected to my assignment. I had an opportunity to get battle-tested, sanctified and purpose-driven,” he recalled.
“I still realized that my assignment to address health disparities of African Americans was unfinished. I was aware that I have talents and skills that have value. I also recognized that experiences like this would either crush you or facilitate incredible personal growth.”
After his release from prison, Releford regained his medical license and today, his practice remains intact and growing, thanks to the assistance of his business associate, entertainment executive Vanzil Burke, who managed Releford’s company during his incarceration.
Seated in his Inglewood office wearing a lab coat and a smile, Releford explained that his rebound was based on techniques he developed to get his life back on track. Those methods are outlined in his soon to-be-released book, “R to the 3rd Power – Restore, Redefine and Re-launch – How to Find Peace and Prosperity Inside Adversity.”
“R3 is a multi-disciplinary approach to coping with and advancing beyond the landmines, quicksand and WMDs (weapons of mass destruction) adversity can inherently bring. Although you can’t change or avoid life’s events and circumstances, you can learn to see and experience them as blessings and in a way that works for you,” said Releford.
“My hope is that by reading this book you will discover that real power lies within and that you have full, unrestricted access to unlimited, inexhaustible resources to solve any problem you may encounter. The only limitations are the self-inflicted limitations you place on yourself. You will discover that adversity can be the seed needed for you to blossom.”
The process begins with restoration and refinement of the mind, body and spirit, which leads to redefining your present situation.
“Re-work your circumstances in a way that empowers you. Rather than play the role of the victim, you can choose to play the role of the overcomer,” said Releford.
“Finally, embrace the next chapter, the next adventure or the next phase of your life. Step back onto life’s stage ready to be of service to mankind knowing deep down in your soul that you still have a lot to offer this world. Re-launch your personal mission or passion in a way that shows no shame or humiliation. Use your victory as a testimony of God’s greatness!”
Maintaining that his approach can transform any circumstance, Releford even believes the techniques can aid people who are experiencing health issues or setbacks, which can be another form of adversity.
“You have people that have gone through the storm, but they’ve been consumed and defeated in that nursing home, on dialysis, stroked out and they can’t implement what they know. The perfect combination in life is to keep yourself healthy enough, so that as you are acquiring knowledge, now you can transfer that knowledge and you can implement what you know,” he insisted.
“We need to embrace a reason to be healthy. Your health is a prerequisite to leaving a legacy or running an effective business.”
In addition to sharing healthy messages throughout underserved local communities, Releford has revived his overseas health outreach program as well his African clothing business. This summer, he will travel to the continent to speak at a major summit outlining how African Americans can do business in Africa.
But whether speaking in Los Angeles or abroad, his main focus will be always be on assisting and uplifting others using his knowledge and experience.
“I’ve seen too much and been blessed with too many skills to allow myself to tossed into the human junk pile. That’s my message to a lot of men and women – know your value,” said Releford.
“When you know your value, you know that this is only temporary. Whatever challenges you have are just a blip on one paragraph in a beautiful story that you’re writing everyday. That chapter is gone and the new chapter is Dr. Releford 2.0!”
The Releford Foot and Ankle Institute is located at 455 N. Prairie Avenue in Inglewood. To learn more, call (310) 412-0183 or visit relefordinstitute.com. The book, “R to the 3rd Power – Restore, Redefine and Re-launch – How to Find Peace and Prosperity Inside of Adversity,” will be available in August on Amazon.com.