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Prostate Cancer Event Sponsorship
The Cotswolds Prostate Cancer Support Group is one of many independent volunteer-led support group charities around the country, whose aims are to raise the profile of prostate cancer, and to support men, and their families, who are affected by it.
Here is a guest post written by Roger Powell, their Chairman – who was gracious enough to share this sponsorship story of how we helped them for a recent event.
More men now die from prostate cancer (around 11,000 every year in the UK), than women die from breast cancer. About one in eight men will get it at some time, yet there’s no national screening, and much less research funding than for other cancers. Most men know little about it, and don’t even talk about it. So they don’t realise, for instance, that in its early stages, when most successfully treatable, prostate cancer may have no symptoms.
How prostate cancer is diagnosed
The usual first stage test for the disease is a simple blood test that measures the level of Prostate Specific Antigen in the blood – the PSA test – which can be a useful indicator to help decide whether further investigation for cancer would be worthwhile. The PSA test cannot be relied upon as an actual diagnosis, however, which is why the NHS still won’t agree to it being used for a national screening programme. Yet it’s not well known that the NHS say that any man over 50 can insist on a PSA test from their GP, provided that the pros and cons of the test are explained.
The trustees of the Cotswolds charity, men who’ve been diagnosed with and treated for prostate cancer, and some of their wives, believe very strongly that men over 50 should have the test, and that it should be extended to men over 40 who have a close relative who’s been diagnosed (for instance, father or brother), as these are at significantly higher risk.
How Cotswolds Prostate Cancer Support group are helping
The Charity has organised a series of free public PSA tests around Gloucestershire in recent years, the most recent being at Tewkesbury on Wednesday, 30 May. Such public tests typically cost the group around £8,000, which they cover by their charity fundraising, and involve a massive amount of detailed organisation. (If you would like to donate to our Charity to help support being able to host these events – you can do so online here > Click).
Some of the organising that goes into putting on these events are:
- negotiating a suitable venue,
- arranging for a team of experienced professional phlebotomists
- a huge publicity effort with articles and adverts in the local press, radio interviews, banners, posters and fliers around the area
- contacting local employers, supermarkets, pharmacies, pubs, bookies, leisure centres, golf and other sports clubs etc
- co-ordinating a large team of volunteers on the day (with the Cotswolds group having generous help from the Cheltenham branch of the Lions).
- arranging for supplies on the test day:
- blood test kits,
- disposable aprons and gloves,
- cotton wool and micropore tape,
- refreshments for volunteers and men being tested, and, vitally,
- the organising of secure disposal of used needles and medical waste, which is where Daniels Healthcare come in.
With all this for the trustees to think about, is it possible for something to go wrong?
Well, late on Friday 25 May, just before the bank holiday week-end and one working day away from the day of the 30th May PSA test event, it became apparent that the specialist sharps containers that are essential for the secure disposal of used needles, had not been ordered, potentially putting the whole event in jeopardy.
SOS call to Daniels Healthcare
I made a desperate call to Daniels and was met with calm reassurance by Imogen Jones, Supervisor of the Customer Support and Marketing Team.
Having listened to the plea for help, and the urgency and importance of the event, Imogen undertook that Daniels would initiate an immediate order – pack a supply of sharps containers on the next working day (Tuesday 29 May) and dispatch them by courier for delivery to my home near Tewkesbury. And, very generously, free of charge for 2.15pm on Wednesday 30 May, with the PSA tests due to begin at 6pm that day.
And what followed was an extremely smoothly run and successful event: the highly skilled and efficient team of 10 phlebotomists took blood from nearly 450 men in two and a half busy hours, of whom 48 proved to have raised PSA levels, 25 of them seriously so. On past experience, this would indicate at least 5 men needing Prostate Cancer treatment, which may be life-saving.
That means that the trustees of the Cotswolds Prostate Cancer Support Group charity, plus another 450 Gloucestershire men and their families, have reason to be very grateful to Daniels Healthcare, and Imogen Jones, for rescuing the event – and with enough spare sharps boxes now in stock to cover the group’s next PSA test event too.
Thank you very much again to you and your team Imogen!