I had long been aware that I was in a high risk group because my father, his brother and one of my cousins had all developed prostate cancer and from the age of 40 I always had an annual PSA test with my GP.
Fortunately, a mixture of operations and treatment meant my family members were all still with us when I went for my blood test in late September 2014 and, as I had no sign of any symptoms, I was expecting the usual swift confirmation of an all clear.
This time, however, I got a very different reaction and was asked to go in to see my doctor, as my levels were very high. He immediately referred me to a consultant and the path of my life was altered forever.
I was a 52 year father of two, married to my wonderful wife Annette, and very happy in my career as a Design Technology teacher in Surrey but my entire identity suddenly and dramatically changed as I become a prostate cancer patient.
After taking advice on the various options available I saw Chris Ogden at the Royal Marsden Hospital in London and he removed my prostate on February 24th last year in a Radical Prostectomy.
After the operation we discovered just how lucky I had been. There was a large tumour inside my prostate and had I left it much later it would have been all across me.
Fortunately it hadn’t spread into the lymph nodes but I had been on the edge.
I was off work for 7 weeks and it took a while to adjust to the physical side effects of such a major invasion but my levels are now almost at zero and I’m no longer on any medication.
When I first heard about Go Dad Run it became one of my recovery goals to try and complete the course only a few months after my operation. I was joined by my son, Ben, and my good friend Martin who had literally just flown in from Singapore.
We were supported by Annette, my daughter Hannah and Martin’s wife and two young children who waved banners at us and kept us going! Martin and I ran together, happy to ‘let’ Ben comfortably cross the finish line before us! It was quite an emotional crossing of the line with hugs all round.
But 2016 was very different. My brother Robin is now on an aggressive six month monitoring programme and our Dad passed away recently. He was 86 years old and we asked that all donations should be made in his memory to Prostate Cancer UK.
15 of my friends and family ran with me in 2016 and it was especially poignant and powerful as we pulled on our big blue Sanlam Go Dad Run Y-fronts to run around Southwark Park on Father’s Day.
We remembered my father, Tony, and reflected on the way prostate cancer has impacted on our family as we also raised as much as we could for the work of Prostate Cancer UK.
Southwark Park in the summer is a lovely, very peaceful and very green location with it’s Victorian Bandstand, Boating Lake, avenues of trees and Art Gallery but we’d love it to be full of the sound of hundreds of men and boys running around the paths on the morning of Sunday May 21st so I hope that anyone reading this will be inspired to sign up, get sponsored and join us for the 2017 Go Dad Run in London