A determined grandad who is battling prostate cancer has spoken of his joy at joining Jeff Stelling on his March for Men walk – and vowed to get involved with the event again next year.
Roofer Ken Bashford, 60, of New Marske, walked with Jeff Stelling and other Prostate Cancer UK fundraisers from Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium to the Transporter Bridge, as part of Sky Soccer Saturday anchor’s effort to complete 15 marathons in 15 days, taking in 40 football stadiums across the country, from Exeter City FC to Newcastle United.
Ken, who is taking part in a National Institute for Health Research-funded clinical trial called STAMPEDE at The James Cook University Hospital said it was “brilliant” to be involved again, after meeting Jeff for the first time during the Prostate Cancer UK event last year.
“Jeff and Gary knew I couldn’t walk very far but that didn’t bother them. They wanted me to be there,” said proud Ken, whose wife, Elaine, 57, and sons Dan, 23, and Andrew, 20, help him maintain a positive outlook on life.
“It was an honour to take part and I managed to walk out of the Riverside side by side with Jeff. This gave me an amazing lift and I felt really good…the best I have felt in a long time.
“Jeff is such a genuine guy who listens to us PC sufferers and has time for everyone. Gary Haines [Sports PR Manager] and the rest of the PCUK TEAM were just fantastic. I was so pleased I made the effort.”
Ken, who is undergoing treatment for “incurable but containable” prostate cancer, joined Jeff on the penultimate day of his Marathon effort.
While waiting for the Hartlepudlian TV presenter to arrive at the Riverside, Ken presented a donation of £75 from his generous friends and family to Robin Millman of Teesside’s Prostate Cancer Support Group.
The group meets every fourth Monday of the month at Jack Hatfield Sports Club in Acklam.
Ken also enjoyed sitting in the Boro manager’s press hotseat, alongside fundraisers including a local darts team, where he also met Middlesbrough darts champion Gary Durrant.
“It was a brilliant day, one to remember,” said Ken.
Previously, Ken has shared the story of his diagnosis in the hope of raising awareness of the condition and encouraging any men who might be worried about any symptoms they might have, or who think they might need a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test, to go to their GP without delay and ask.
High PSA levels in the blood can indicate problems with the prostate which require further investigation, including possible prostate cancer.
Ken admits testing for the disease is a “big taboo” with men, but although it is undeniably uncomfortable and “embarrassing,” it has enabled him to get a swift diagnosis and access to treatment.
“Because of the blood test and examination, I’m here today, as I was able to be immediately referred to Dr David Chadwick at James Cook Hospital,” said Ken, who reports his PSA blood tests remain low again after his latest test.
He adds he feels reassured by being so closely monitored as part of the STAMPEDE clinical trial, which sees him take four Abiraterone Acetate tablets, 160mg of Enzalutamide and a steroid tablet every day, as well as a three-monthly implant to keep the prostate cancer contained.
“The way I look at it is that this could help provide a cure for patients in future,” he said.
“I have a target now. If Jeff is crazy enough to do this next year, I want to be a bigger part of it – maybe doing a mile or so God willing.”
More on Ken’s story is available here.
You can also find out more about the March for Men and information on Prostate Cancer – including possible risk factors and symptoms – at the Prostate Cancer UK website.