A couple from Leicestershire are calling on men and their loved ones in their local area and across the UK to take part in Prostate Cancer UK’s virtual fundraising challenge, March the Month, to raise awareness of the most common cancer in men and funds for lifesaving research.
Graham Cross, 53, was diagnosed with prostate cancer six years ago, thanks to a little nudge from his wife, Katherine, who noticed he was going to the toilet more frequently and suggested that he visit his GP.
Graham, from Earl Shilton, believed his symptoms were simply due to blood pressure medication and was shocked when he found out he had prostate cancer. He initially had surgery to remove his prostate, but went on to have radiotherapy treatment in 2021 after his cancer came back.
Since Graham’s diagnosis, the couple, who’ve been together for over 30 years, have been dedicated to taking on Prostate Cancer UK’s March the Month challenge every year, to raise awareness of the disease to help save more men’s lives. They are now encouraging men, their families, and their friends across the country to lace up their walking shoes and join them this March.
March the Month is a virtual fundraising challenge where participants complete 11,000 steps each day throughout the month, to represent more than 11,000 dads, partners, brothers, grandads and mates who die from prostate cancer every year.
Katherine said: “This March the Month is significant for both me and Graham as five years ago, Graham had surgery to remove his prostate. As always, we’ll be taking on this challenge together, using this time to reflect on what we’ve both been through and what we’ve got to look forward to, like our 30th wedding anniversary.
“Thankfully Graham is now doing well and Prostate Cancer UK played a huge part in supporting us through Graham’s prostate cancer journey, so taking part in March the Month is our way of helping to raise funds for the charity and awareness of the disease. I would encourage others to walk alongside me and Graham and help stop prostate cancer being a killer.”
Graham said: “I’m really looking forward to getting involved in March the Month again this March, especially with Katherine. We’ve been together for over thirty years since we were at school, so it’s only natural we take part in this challenge together too. If it wasn’t for Katherine my situation could’ve been very different. I’m lucky she noticed something was quite right and prompted me to take that step and visit my GP.
“I was diagnosed with prostate cancer at 47 and want to spread the message that this isn’t an ‘old man’s disease’. A month-long commitment allows us to wear our Prostate Cancer UK t-shirts with pride and I would encourage the public to join us and raise vital awareness, to help save and improve the lives of men, like me, affected by prostate cancer.”
One in eight men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and this rises to 1 in 4 for Black men. New data released in January showed that in the Midlands more than 1 in 6 (17.8 per cent) of men with prostate cancer are diagnosed with metastatic disease, often meaning it is too late for a cure, compared to just 1 in 8 (12.5 per cent) in London, with 10,000 men diagnosed too late for a cure each year in the UK.
However, early diagnosis can save thousands of lives, and so Prostate Cancer UK are encouraging men across the country to use its 30-second online risk checker to help them understand their risk and what they can do about it.
The money raised by those pounding the pavements will go towards funding vital research into lifesaving treatments for prostate cancer and?provide?practical support to men and their families affected by the disease.?So far March the Month, which started in 2018, has raised more than £3.2m with a tireless team of over 19,000 walkers covering more than 2 billion miles.
Nicola Tallett, Director of Fundraising & Supporter Engagement at Prostate Cancer UK, said: “Prostate cancer is the?most common cancer in men, with one in eight getting diagnosed in their lives. We’re blown away by how much March the Month has raised over the years, helping us to fund scientific research, to stop prostate cancer damaging the lives of men and their loved ones.
“The March the Month participants have well and truly shown how friends, families and communities?can work?together, locally and?across?the UK?to help?save lives.?
“We thank everyone for going that extra mile and joining with us in our promise and commitment: Men, we are with you.”