As he rushed to get in to Chesterfield’s Proact stadium in time for kick-off, Ivan spent 10 seconds talking to Pat, one of our brilliant volunteers. Ivan had never met him before and didn’t even know his name, but it was probably one of the most important conversations he’s ever had.
Last year Pat, who is living with advanced, aggressive prostate cancer, was collecting for Prostate Cancer UK outside the ground, and was talking to men about their risk of developing prostate cancer. Here’s what happened next…
‘I was a bit late and was rushing. There was a matchday collection for Prostate Cancer UK. I knew I’d got a pound coin in my pocket so I put it in the bucket, and this bloke was handing these leaflets out.
‘I took a leaflet and the man said, “So have you spoken to your doctor about your prostate cancer risk?” I said, “I’m going to the match mate, I’m a bit late.”’
‘I left it at that and went in to the ground.’
Fleeting as that encounter might have been, it was enough to get Ivan thinking.
‘There were still a few minutes before kick off, so I read his leaflet. I was in the age group most at risk. The leaflet said it runs in families. I didn’t know anyone in my family who had had prostate cancer, so I just put the leaflet in my pocket, watched the match and went home.
‘The following match, I put the same jacket on and pulled the leaflet out of my pocket. That week I was going for a cholesterol test, so I thought I’d ask doctor for a PSA test at the same time. We discussed the pros and cons of having the test, and I decided to go for it. The next thing I know, I’d been sent a letter confirming my PSA reading was high. I was referred to hospital. It’s all happened very quickly.’
When he was referred to his consultant, Ivan realised how significant that brief chat with Pat had been.
‘The consultant sat me down and she said, “You got prostate cancer but the good news is we’ve caught it early; the signs are good.
‘“That guy who handed you that leaflet at the football match, you better track him down and buy him a pint because he’s saved your life, or at least prolonged your life. You owe him a lot.”
‘I’m on hormone tablets hoping to shrink the tumour, and I’ve got to have radiotherapy treatment at the back end of the year, hoping to eradicate it.
‘I owe Pat a lot. If it hadn’t been for him I don’t think I’d have gone to my doctor. I also told my brother to go. He’s two years older than me. His tests came back about the same level as mine – he’s got it too, so Pat’s probably saved two lives.’
Thankful that he and his brother had been diagnosed early, Ivan contacted Prostate Cancer UK hoping to track down the man who had saved his life.
Watch the video to see what happened when Ivan got a chance to thank Pat in person:
‘It’s sometimes hard to keep talking to people about it, especially when you’ve got aggressive prostate cancer like I have, but I carry on because I’m trying to get people to do the right thing.
‘I tell a lot of people to go and speak to their doctor and I hope they all take as much notice as Ivan.
‘You’ve got to almost twist their arms up their backs. You’ve got to carry on. You just say ‘1 in 8’ get it and if you catch it too late they can’t cure it, which is just what has happened to me.I don’t want anyone else to go through what I’m going through.
‘I’ve achieved what I wanted to do, I feel fantastic. Collecting money is important for Prostate Cancer UK because of all the things that still need to be done.
‘I’m grateful for all the help I’ve had. I can’t run marathons and I can’t ride a bike across London but I can collect at a football match and I can do the one-to-one support. I do enjoy helping people who have just been diagnosed.
‘It’s terrific for me to meet Ivan because it’s nice to see somebody who I’ve spoken to and it’s been successful. Unfortunately he’s got prostate cancer but they caught it early and he’s getting the right treatment. And that is fantastic!’