In late 2014, forum regular Iain Clow was diagnosed with prostate cancer. For a family man in his forties and with two young kids, it came as something of a shock. Thankfully he has made it out through the other side and wants to give something back to recognise the support he got along the way and to raise awareness of the disease as not being something that affects only old men. Along with other forum regulars, James Andrews and Mark Berry, who met Iain through the forum when looking for help and advice about the disease, a plan was hatched. What was called for was a ride that would be a challenge to someone who was still suffering from the ill effects of treatment and surgery, something that they could aim for as they go through the recovery process and which would help keep their spirits up when they were finding things tough. To this end, Iain, James, Mark and five other riders have formed the Prost-8 riders, a group of men who have all in one way or another been affected by the disease and who are going to ride a multi-day circuit of the Cairngorms in May with Sanny drafted in as erstwhile guide and to document the ride in pictures and words.
As James explains:
“Cancer was far from my mind in the first half of 2015. I was a reasonably fit regular rider who felt fine and healthy, just turned 48 (exactly the same age as Iain). Prostate cancer is not in my family and I certainly had no waterworks issues. A random (but lucky) PSA check in 2013 done during something entirely different had been slightly elevated but the specialist had been relaxed. My GP did a further PSA test as part of a separate blood test in late Spring 2015 and it came back higher. A lucky but unlikely catch. This time, the consultant diagnosed fairly advanced prostate cancer. Out of other options, it was time for a radical robotic prostatectomy.
No-one could tell me what to expect, and like Iain I felt that the medical world can tend to assume that this is an old man’s disease. Some advocate starting to test you only in your 50’s. Nothing about riding my bike afterwards, it felt like I was expected to have just stopped doing stuff. At this point I contacted Iain through the Singletrack forum, and he got me through it all.
Well, it’s not just for the old; it happens to us, the young (er) and active, and it can quietly get hold of you when you don’t expect it. And you can do something about it and carry on riding if you catch it in time.
All of us on this ride (the Prost-8) have been affected by this disease in some way. We’re a bunch of blokes living life to the full and doing this ride for four reasons:
- To raise awareness and hopefully ensure that others catch it in time;
- To prove that we can do something tough and shove it back in cancer’s face;
- To raise money for Prostate Cancer UK, who do a great job with research; and
- Because we can, even after prostate cancer in some cases.”
As if cancer and surgery aren’t a big enough hurdle to overcome, as part of his training for the ride, James managed to fracture a neck vertebrae following an over the bars incident and has only just been given the go ahead to do the ride.
The boys are really keen to spread the message about prostate cancer and do something which they hope will not only prove that there is life after prostate cancer but also raise much needed funds for Prostate Cancer UK.
If you would like to help the boys with their fund raising efforts, please have a look at their Just Giving page, www.justgiving.com/Prost8-Grampians . All proceeds will go directly to Prostate Cancer UK.
To find out more about the work of Prostate Cancer UK, please click on www.prostatecanceruk.org