How one man became a local hero – with a little help from his friend
Pat is one of our long-time Men United volunteers. Despite being told his advanced prostate cancer is terminal, he still does everything he can to host prostate cancer information stands, raise money at Football League match days and talk to as many people as he can about prostate cancer – so they don’t have to go through what he has. Recently he won the Peak FM Local Hero Fundraiser of the Year Award. He told us about the surprise of being told, how the night went and how his best friend played a bigger role than he realised.
“Am I speaking to Patrick Patterson?” a woman at the end of the telephone said. “I said yes but I thought ‘here we go, its PPI or something’ – that’s what I expected”.
But for Pat, 75 from Chesterfield, it wasn’t what he thought. He’d not only been nominated but had won Peak Radio FM’s Local Hero Fundraiser of the Year award.
Pat said “When I heard that I said ‘I don’t believe it, what’s the catch?’ There’s people fundraising who are swimming the channel and doing marathons – my contribution is I do what I can. I shake buckets at football matches and in supermarkets. I just couldn't believe it. It was amazing!”
Pat is one of our long-time Men United volunteers. Despite being told his advanced prostate cancer is terminal, he still does everything he can to host prostate cancer information stands, raise money at Football League match days and talk to as many people as he can about prostate cancer – so they don’t have to go through what he has.
One man Pat was able to reach was Ivan. A 30 second conversation between Ivan and Pat, then strangers, at Chesterfield FC over a year ago changed both of their lives. We even made a film about their incredible story. For Ivan it was life-changing because it led to him being diagnosed with prostate cancer at 68. But thankfully it was caught early. His diagnosis then led to a chat with his older brother, who was also diagnosed early. For Pat it was vindication that all of the conversations he has with football fans and people in supermarkets can really make a difference. Since we filmed them in March 2015, the two have become best friends.
So, fittingly, the first person Pat called was Ivan. But Ivan had his own surprise in waiting. “I rang Ivan and said I’ve won local hero fundraiser of the year award” Pat told me. “And then Ivan said ‘yeah I know - it was me who nominated you!’. 'You bugger,' I thought! 'Why didn’t you tell me?' 'I wanted it to be a surprise!'”
But the surprises didn’t stop there.
Pat said “My wife Kathleen and I went to the awards night at Chesterfield FC, which was where we’d first met and then been reunited, so that was nice. There was dinner, entertainment and it was just fantastic. And then my award bit came and there was this big TV screen at the front and there was Ivan on it! It was a video and he said all these nice things that this man saved my life and he saved my brother’s life – I’m indebted to him, and he’s my best mate. He said I had terminal cancer but even still I’d done this for him and got him to see a doctor. I went up to get the award and everyone went mad; clapping and jumping up and down. I just can’t explain how great it was. But what I’d done was just a simple thing.”
One of those people clapping had more good news for Pat. Pat said “the company who sponsored the event were a taxi company and the owner came over and said it’s a wonderful thing you’ve done. I said I just told him to go to the doctors, it’s the least I can do. But he said if you ever want a taxi, anytime, just contact me and you can have it for free. Free taxis whenever I want, fantastic!”
In Pat’s opinion he feels like he’s just the start of a domino effect in spreading the word about prostate cancer. “Ivan and my story have been in God knows how many magazines, local newspapers and we were even on BBC Look North together” he said. “But it is just the start. I know there are two people at my local health club who saw the thing on BBC and told me that made them go to their doctor. They were both told they had prostate cancer but it’s been caught in the early stages. It doesn’t just stop at Ivan.”
It’s great to hear about the inspiring things Pat and other people in Men United are doing to help beat prostate cancer. But it’s equally inspiring to hear about the importance of great mates and what amazing things we can do, with a little help from our friends. “I really can’t thank him enough for this.” Pat said about Ivan. “He’s the nicest bloke you could meet and I’ll go and see him and take the trophy with me because he deserves it as much as I do.”
Be a part of Men United, and you too can do something amazing with your mates to help beat prostate cancer.