Last Sunday over 550 people flocked to take part in the first ever March for Men fundraising event in Manchester. Taking place at Wythenshawe Park, the event raised vital funds to help beat prostate cancer – a disease which kills one man every 45 minutes.
Supporters young and old took part from across the area walking a choice of distances around a circular route, many with a personal connection to the disease.
Eleanor Blundell, from Cadishead, marched with her husband, Niall Maguire. Eleanor became interested in the event and getting involved in some fundraising after her dad, Norman (79) was diagnosed with prostate cancer two-and-a-half years ago.
“I marched for my wonderful dad, who has been incredible over the past few years, through his diagnosis and treatment. I also marched for all men – to help raise awareness of prostate cancer and help fund the superb work of Prostate Cancer UK. And we marched for all the families and friends who provide care, love and support during some incredibly difficult times. It was a brilliant day, the weather was beautiful weather, and the spirit of everyone walking together, to do something so great was really humbling.
Eleanor and Niall completed the 10k route in Wythenshawe and were cheered on and greeted at the finish line by Eleanor’s parents Norman and Claire in an emotional finale.
Norman, who was diagnosed on Christmas Eve 2015, a few days before the couple’s Golden Wedding Anniversary, added: “The care, support and encouragement I have received from consultants, radiotherapists, trial nurses and my GP has been wonderful.
“We know from them how much they value the work of Prostate Cancer UK in their search for better diagnosis and treatment. Because of the continuing research and excellent care, and the support of my wife, my children Victoria, Robert and Eleanor and their partners as well as our very good friends I am now back to my old self and looking forward to celebrating my 80th birthday shortly.”
The event formed part of Prostate Cancer UK’s wider walking programme, March for Men, which includes six other local walks across the UK this June.
As participants crossed the finish line they were awarded with medals and greeted by cheers, before they could relax in the sun with their loved ones, or have a mooch around the event village. And it wasn’t only people who took part in the March – around 50 dogs participated, all sporting branded neckerchiefs.
On hand was a Specialist Nurse who answered questions from participants about the disease and where their fundraising efforts are spent.
The Manchester March for Men was one of two events in the region on Sunday with Liverpool also welcoming more than 800 walkers to Croxteth Hall and Country Park.
Over 1,658 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the Manchester each year, with 371 men dying from the disease, and over 14,121 living with and beyond prostate cancer.
Prostate Cancer UK’s Chief Executive, Angela Culhane said: “We are delighted with the success of our March for Men event in Manchester this weekend. The number of people who united showing passion and dedication to supporting Prostate Cancer UK was phenomenal. One man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer, and we now know this disease is the third biggest cancer killer. That’s unacceptable.
“However, through events such as this, we hope to raise further awareness and funds so that more men’s lives can be saved and we can make prostate cancer a disease that the next generation need not fear. We thank everyone of all ages who took part (not forgetting the four-legged participants!) and all those who donated to support them.”
Many people are unaware that prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men. It’s a huge issue that cannot be ignored. One man will die from prostate cancer every 45 minutes in the UK. That’s over 11,800 men a year. Based on current trends, if we ignore prostate cancer and do nothing, this number will rise to over 14,500 men a year by 2026.
For more information about Prostate Cancer UK’s March for Men programme, visit marchformen.org and to donate to Eleanor go to https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/eleanorblundell.