Prostate cancer awareness – it takes a Village

March 25, 2013 by
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Prostate Cancer UK launches its Awareness Month fundraiser today: the Sledgehammer auction. You can pick up a signed photo of the 1966 England football team, a Gran Corsa high specification bike and a gold plated Optimus Harmonica amongst other lots between now and Sunday 31 March. The auction is a culmination of The Sledgehammer Fund, the charity’s major national awareness and fundraising drive fronted by comedian Bill Bailey.

prostate cancer uk line up

Line-up: Chairman Paul Forster, Peter Moffat, Victoria Lambert, Roger Kirby, Owen Sharp

Last week – on a smaller scale – friends, fundraisers and the office team who make this small charity punch consistently above its weight met up at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden London to celebrate the work that goes on all year, and to introduce new supporters to the organisation. We listened to CEO Owen Sharp (@OwenSharpCEO) explain why awareness is still a driving issue, prostate surgeon Roger Kirby on his personal battle  with the condition he treats day in day (my own interview with him, and fellow urologists John Anderson and Damian Hanbury was in the Daily Mail last week), and, as Ambassador, I was lucky enough to interview BAFTA award winning playwright Peter Moffat on stage.

Peter is the writer behind BBC 1’s legal drama Silk – where chambers clerk Billy Lamb develops prostate cancer. Peter revealed to us that his own father had developed prostate cancer and not been diagnosed until it was too late. He had been embarrassed because symptoms concerned his ‘waterworks’, explained Peter with some frustration. His father was treated with hormone therapy but died six years later. After our conversation, we persuaded actor Neil Stuke who plays Billy to join us on stage, and Peter very kindly auctioned a character name in the next series of Silk – which fetched £1,500 from Vice Chair Ray Kelly.

Conversations with his father during that time inspired Peter to write The Village – which will be on BBC 1 this Sunday: [youtube][/youtube]

It reminded me of that other village – the one Hillary Clinton conjured up in her book It Takes A Village; the one it takes to raise a child.

I think we need to act like a Village more and more – to work together on diseases like prostate cancer; and to warn those around us – through personal awareness campaigns – of the dangers.  The Sledgehammer auction is a terrific way of getting the message across – and of raising funds. But if you don’t get lucky bidding for the hi-vis Royal Mail jacket signed by the Emmerdale cast (for example), you can help in other ways, every day. Talk to your friends and family about prostate cancer.  Get the message across anywhere, any time, any how.




About the Author

Victoria Lambert has been a journalist for more than 20 years, and specialises in health and medical matters. She writes for the Telegraph, the Times, the Sunday Times, the Guardian, the Mail and the Mail on Sunday. She contributes to Saga, Geographical and First Eleven magazines – where she is the agony aunt.

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