Prostate cancer and how you can help kick it

Once a year or so I get roped into doing some charity thing or other because it seems like a good idea at the time. Last year I did 100 pushups a day for a month in aid of Cancer Research UK. This year, I somehow thought it wouldn’t be that hard to run a marathon over the course of a month (26 miles in 31 days? Pah!) for Prostate Cancer UK.

Thing is, I hate running. I used to be good at it, but I also used to be 23 years old. At that time I could run a 3 mile circuit and get home again before the bath was filled. I’m now more than twice that age and break into a sweat tying my trainers up.

I trialled a little run around the park by my house and it clocks in at 1.18, 1.19 or 1.20 miles depending on what mood my phone’s GPS is in. Either way, just about manageable for an old fart who can sprain a muscle if he doesn’t warm up before playing on the Xbox. The only downside is that there are no streetlights anywhere in the park, and it’s winter, which means I have limited daylight and the risk of ice. As such, my original plan of a quick run when I got home from work each night hasn’t been manageable so I’m having to cram the miles in when I can around the school run, work, parents’ evenings and so on.

Still, I’ve just passed the halfway mark as the month itself is half done so we’re getting there. I’ve also passed the halfway mark in the fundraising. So I changed my target so that people would keep donating. Yes, you. Go on – donate. Thank you. Oh, and don’t forget the Gift Aid. The government would only spend the money on something useless like sweeties or Brexit.

So what are you helping? The thing is, prostate cancer is pretty common but not too many people know about it. Or, indeed, prostates. Other cancers get a lot more (deserved) publicity. Leukaemia, for instance. Yes, that’s a cancer. And breast cancer. Because breasts are pretty obvious and awesome and everyone likes them (except for people who actually own them, as I gather they’re either too big and therefore painful, or too small and therefore everyone else’s are better). But we all like boobs. It’s not just a male thing, either. I know gay ladies who do find a nice pair very appealing in a partner. All the sex stuff aside, is there anything more serene than a mother nursing her baby? Exactly, breasts are great in so many ways. And breast cancer affects men and women (though predominantly the fairer sex).

Prostate cancer is a male only thing as only men have them (and I include in this trans-women – the prostate isn’t removed during reassignment surgery, so please be aware that prostate cancer can still be a “thing”). The prostate gland is a small structure, mainly used during sex to create the fluid that sperm resides in. A simplified description and one which pretty much explains why the prostate definitely isn’t as sexy as boobs.

While mammograms aren’t a picnic, prostates are examine by a GP shoving a hopefully lubricated and gloved) finger up your bum. As the joke goes, if you can feel their hands in your shoulders while they’re doing this, you should be charging them by the hour… Prostate cancer can also be tested for by using a blood test. Macmillan Cancer has a nice bit of info on it.

In the UK, 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lifetime, comparable to the 1 in 7 women who will be diagnosed with breast cancer. While 23% of breast cancer cases are preventable, prostate cancer is not, though there may be ways to lower the risk.

By supporting charities such as Prostate Cancer UK, we can help research this nasty beast and work out ways to reduce its likelihood, to improve treatment, raise awareness and make tests easier and more reliable.

So even if you can’t donate (I get it, it’s January, you’re broke after wasting money on crap presents that nobody really wanted or needed last month), then at least read up a little on it. Make others more aware. See if you’re in a risk category and consider getting tested just in case. As with any cancer, the sooner you spot the thing, the more likely it is you’ll beat it.

That donation link again. Thanks.

Sponsor me!

The steep south face of Ben Nevis from Sgurr a...
The steep south face of Ben Nevis from Sgurr a' Mhà im (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s not often I’ll ask for cash, but I’m doing a sponsored walk up Ben Nevis on May 6th and I need to raise £90 before then. If anyone would be kind enough to sponsor me a few quid, please let me know and we’ll work out how to get the dosh to me.

Obviously, if you’re local then I can just get the cash. Anyone else can probably get it to me via bank transfer or *spit* PayPal. If you’re a UK taxpayer, make sure I get your postcode and house number as well so we can claw more back off the government!

Oh, the cause – it’s St Andrew’s Hospice. Not one I’ve been associated with in the past, but one that the school I currently work at raises a fair bit of money for.

Thanks in advance, folks.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Thanks from Blue Dragon!

Blue Dragon Children's Foundation
Blue Dragon Children's Foundation

A few months ago, Blue Dragon launched an appeal to raise $50,000 to secure the future of the current “house”. This is where street kids are looked after, fed, entertained, educated, assisted and – in some cases – sleep.

Fantastic news. Courtesy of many donations, they reached $41,000. Planet Wheeler had promised to match the first $30,000 and did so raising the grand total to a whopping$71,000!

Many thanks to everyone who dug deep. The house is now “safe” for at least the next five years!

Two charity updates

Blue Dragon Children's Foundation
Blue Dragon Children's Foundation

Nothing I’m directly connected with, at least as far as being actively involved, but here are two good ways to waste your cash instead of… I dunno… paying tax or something.

First up, the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation are now selling Christmas cards. Yes, it’s only November but remember they’ll have to be shipped from Vietnam! Each card is hand-crafted by one of the teenagers who benefit from the money raised in their sale. They seem pricey, but note the title of each one – what you pay is what it goes towards – a desk and lamp, school books for a child, a winter coat and so on.

The full catalogue can be viewed here.

Next up is a chap who’s planning on doing something mental in 2011. Back in 2007 at the exact same time as I was walking across Europe for the aforementioned BDCF, Mark Allison was running from John O’ Groats to Land’s End in aid of a local hospice. A marathon a day, basically. In essence, he was running the same distance I was walking each day.

Run Geordie Run
Run Geordie Run

Well, he’s gearing up to beat that and plans to walk coast to coast across the US. That’s 3000 miles, trebling the distance I stumbled across.

All the costs of this jaunt will come out of his own pocket and every penny raised will go to St.Benedicts Hospice and The Childrens Foundation. In addition, for every pound raised before the end of 2009, Peter’s Pies will donate 50p. That’s incredibly generous.

For full details, please see Mark’s “Run Geordie Run” website. Oh, yeah – he’s a staunch Newcastle fan!

As ever, folks, every penny counts!

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Selfish footballers

Nostrils by David Shankbone

We all know how tasty and satisfying a good sniff is. Or a lovely delve into the nostrils to howk out a sizeable bogey to chow down on as an aperitif. So it really annoys me that with all the starving in the world, the likes of Ronaldo (both of them), Rooney, Beckham – hell, even our own dear Shearer – can be guilty of a horrendous waste of snot.

Many is the time I’ve seen a professional football player snorting a nostril or two full of sticky nose-juice onto the ground during a game. I know they’re rich and I know they drive stupid cars and wear suits that cost more than I earned in a year. I know they can wipe their arses with gold credit cards and use a fresh condom every time they have sex. But to be seen on TV throwing good food on the ground when there are millions starving in the Third World is nothing short of a disgrace.

A campaign should be started to force them to blow it out into a bag. After the game, it could be shipped to a needy child in Ethiopia or the Sudan who can’t generate enough bogies of their own for a good snort. Think of the children! Please, will someone think of the children? And the bogies.

Zemanta Pixie