Ray McGuire was inspired to go the London Marathon-distance for Prostate Cancer UK this weekend after his father-in-law, Cleveland ‘Dave’ Davis, died from the disease last year, aged 64. Now he’s determined to raise awareness of black men’s increased risk of prostate cancer.
“When he was diagnosed, it was frightening for us all,” says Ray. His father-in-law, Dave, initially went to the doctor with pain in his hips and knees. He had arthritis so thought it might be down to that, as he was always so active.
But in 2013, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and he and his family had to face the reality of this awful disease and all the numerous treatments that followed – including hormone therapy, chemotherapy and radiotheraphy.
“He dealt with it amazingly well,” says Ray. “He never lost his sense of humour and he would always have his nurses crying with laughter.”
Dave fought long and hard with the support of his wife and four children. But sadly he passed away in September last year at home, with his family around him. He was immensely proud of his children and especially of his four grandchildren, who love and miss him dearly.
“There has been a hole left by his passing,” says Ray. “It’s still very recent and we know it will take time to come to terms with this.
“We weren’t aware of the increased risk for black men, but now it’s at the forefront of our minds. Dave has a son and two grandsons, so we need to be vigilant. We also want to spread as much awareness as possible that one-in-four black men are affected by prostate cancer in the UK. This is two times the average – a startling statistic which is not known widely enough.
“That’s why I’m running the London Marathon in support of Prostate Cancer UK – to raise vital funds and awareness.”
This is my third marathon as I’m a seasoned runner, but this one is going to mean a huge deal to us all
Ray’s family have been supporting him every step of the way. His wife, especially, has been promoting the cause through social media and with some of her artwork, selling greeting cards and prints to raise money.
“My family have been fantastic whilst I’ve been training and fundraising,” says Ray. “It’s all gone well so far and I’ve not had any injuries, bar a few blisters.
“This is my third marathon as I’m a seasoned runner, but this one is going to mean a huge deal to us all. If I could say anything to other men out there, I’d say: just get yourself checked out. Catching it early is the key. You wouldn’t want to leave your family without a father because you felt a bit embarrassed about doing something about it.”
You can sponsor Ray's London Marathon heroics at his JustGiving page and help him and us to beat prostate cancer.