I went to Cardiff straight from college to work on the industrial railways of South Wales. I became the Chairman of a railway engineering company in 1989 and subsequently a leisure company designing and building narrow gauge trains and roller coasters all of which I sold in 1999 and retired to enjoy watching my family grow up after neglecting them through their informative years, whilst I worked 7 days a week for 32 years.
My life was turned upside down in February 2006 after a series of tests starting with prostate specific antigen (PSA) test I was told that I had a Gleason score of 9, stage 4 metastatic, aggressive with hormone treatment to lower the PSA and testosterone levels being the only treatment available until it would become castrate resistent SO my cancer was descibed as incurable prostate cancer.
I had no previous knowledge of what a prostate gland was or how much at risk I was of having prostate cancer. Why should I go to the doctors? I thought I was perfectly fit running 6 miles a day and cycling up to 10 miles a day as well as playing badminton and squash and never previously been ill.
Well I thought I had no symptoms but in retrospect I had all the classic symptoms but like most men I thought it was just the ageing process or pushing the body a little too far from time to time i.e. lower back pain, reduced flow when I went for a pee, deterioration of taste buds, tiredness.
Certainly the doctor would never call me in to see them. Why should they? BUT of course they should have not only my age was putting me at risk but also the incidence of prostate cancer in my family. Those three words “YOU HAVE CANCER” are the ones that people fear most, when it happened to me I asked (in a state of acceptance and numbness) what do I do now? The reply came back “I suggest you go home and put your house in order”.
I thought wow does that mean I will never celebrate another Christmas with those close to me, will I not see my children and grandchild anymore, will I never have another birthday, and my garage is in a mess who is going to sort that out !!!
That was a turning point in my life firstly I had to think how to tell my three sons that I was going to die of cancer and secondly that because I had prostate cancer their chances of having the cancer were increased two to three fold, thirdly I had to tell my daughter I would not be around to see her bring up my 3 year old grandson.
From that day in February 2006 I was determined to try to get the awareness of prostate cancer out to firstly the general public of Wales and then to the rest of the UK so that men would not have to learn about their cancer in the same way that I had found out.
After my diagnosis I decided that I would find out for myself what this disease was all about my first call was to Wimpole St in London followed by Cambridge, Canada, USA, Barbados, Austria and Bratislava.
I returned to Wales armed with scores of books, leaflets and kind words from eminent Oncologists, Urologists and Specialist Nurses.
After discussions with Professor M. Mason and Dr J Staffurth at Velindre Hospital I decided to launch the “The RedSock Campaign”