Former Guilford County Commissioner Ray Trapp, one of the most liked commissioners to ever sit on the board, was stunned recently by an out-of-the-blue diagnosis of stage three kidney cancer.

Trapp, who always keeps himself in tip-top physical shape, is trying to use his current battle to help others who may think they don’t need regular medical checkups.

Trapp gave permission for the Rhino Times to disclose his health situation because he said he knows that many men avoid seeing the doctor and he wants people to realize how important it is to have regular checkups.

Trapp stepped down as a Guilford County commissioner in 2017 to take a governmental liaison job at North Carolina A&T State University.  Then, in 2021, he took a new job with the 61-year-old Research Triangle Foundation – the steward organization of Research Triangle Park that promotes economic development in the Park and the surrounding region.  At that time, he moved to Durham.

On Thursday, June 30, Trapp underwent successful surgery at Duke Medical Center that included the removal of his entire left kidney.

After surgery, a friend reported that he was “awake, lucid and with close family and friends.”

The event has inspired Trapp to convey the following message to everyone: “Men, go to the doctor.  Don’t wait, even if you think it’s minor, most especially for black men.  It is important we take our health seriously.”

Trapp was one of the best performing athletes years ago when Guilford County government staff battled the City of Greensboro staff in a series of athletic games.

A couple of weeks ago, Trapp went to see his doctor due to back pain and, after a series of tests and an alarming diagnosis, a team came together at Duke and acted quickly.

Trapp also conveyed to the Rhino through a friend that he’s very grateful to the doctors, nurses and staff who’ve been taking care of him and helping him battle the disease.

“Normally this might be a very private matter, but I believe my experience might help others,” Trapp said after surgery.

It’s the same inclination that led News 2 Anchor Julie Luck to allow the community to follow intimately the details of her battle with colon cancer earlier this year.   Luck is now cancer free and back on the air, but she’s still stressing that it’s vital for people to get regular medical attention including a colonoscopy.  Luck has done a great deal to make people aware of the importance of catching medical issues early – and Trapp also wants his experience to make others aware and perhaps save some lives due to problems being caught early.

Trapp will now be recuperating at home in Durham over the next few months and will be ready to resume his regular life again soon.

“I’m looking forward to being at the courthouse looking at the election results in November,” the longtime Democrat said.

Trapp served in the US Navy as a communications specialist aboard the USS Harry S. Truman after he graduated from NC A&T where he completed his master of science in agricultural education.

Trapp also said he wanted Rhino Times writer Scott Yost, a Duke graduate and fan, to know that “His Blue Devils are taking very good care of me.”

It’s been a sad week when it comes to medical news regarding community leaders in Guilford County. In addition to Trapp battling Kidney cancer, former Guilford County Chief District Court Judge Wendy Enochs passed away as did former Guilford County Schools Chief of Staff Nora Carr.