Blog by Jack Bacon

17 Mar 2015

In 2012 the Community Fundraising team at Prostate Cancer UK were contacted by a significant individual. One who was interested in helping us raise funds through organising store collections and distributing collection tins.

This particular area of front line fundraising supported by volunteers is an area that we have yet to really get to grips with so we quickly followed up with the individual. That individual is Bob Pow.

Bob Pow with Morecambe FC players

Bob Pow (above centre) was diagnosed with prostate cancer in the autumn of 1999. He was living in Spain at the time, enjoying the warmer climes and like many men in his position knew nothing about prostate cancer. Bob was treated successfully for the disease and fifteen years later is now back in the UK living in the Lake District.

It would be easy to think that a man who had run several businesses would be ready to settle down in his early 70s, but think again. Bob has become pivotal in raising both awareness and significant funds for Prostate Cancer UK in an area that covers large sections of the North West of England. Through hard work and a network of volunteers Bob oversees and is an active part of a small team of fundraisers that includes Michael Tupper, Tony Mcglennon and Neil Sindle. Between them, this quartet managed to collect over £21,000 last year! An incredible sum raised through store collections and collection tins distributed in shops and pubs. Bob has even been involved in our Football League Collections and was asked last weekend to be our Guest of Honour at Morecambe FC (photo below), having collected there in previous seasons.

Champion fundraiser Bob Pow walks out as guest of honour at Morecambe FC game

But the story doesn’t end here, as 2015 promises to be an even busier year. With over 100 collections already planned, the likelihood is that whilst you are reading this, Bob will be collecting money and raising awareness at a local Asda, Booths or Tesco’s.

“Raising funds is obviously important,” says Bob, “and our efforts just show what other supporters could achieve by joining Men United and following our methods, but awareness is also vital to stop this disease ruining lives. At the time I was diagnosed, there wasn’t much information on prostate cancer. It was a real ‘Head in the sand job’.”

The tide thank fully is beginning to turn and through the help of volunteer fundraisers such as Bob, Michael, Tony , Neil and the success of our Men United campaign, more people are starting to listen.

“When I started to collecting, ladies would come up to me and praise me for doing something for the blokes, while the men would hang their heads. Now, two years later, I’m getting almost the same amount of donations from men than I do from women – the word is definitely getting out there.”

But Bob thinks there is still a lot to be done: “The other day a man came up to me and said that since his diagnosis I was the first person he had met who’d said they had prostate cancer. So men still aren’t being open about it.”

We need more of our supporters to join Bob’s army not just locally but across the whole of the UK. If you would like to find out more about the work Bob does and how you could organise your own store collections or distribute collection tins, please get in touch with one of our volunteer team.

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