For our chief executive, Angela Culhane, and her family, there will always be someone missing from their table at Christmas. She tells us about the men who will be in her thoughts this year, and the work we’re doing to change the game for them, as she joins thousands of our supporters showing their support by hanging our ‘Man of Men’ decoration on their tree.
This Christmas, I’m once again hanging three of our striking ‘Man of Men’ decorations on my tree.
As always, one is for my lovely father-in-law, Tom (pictured below). He was first diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003 and lived with the disease for 10 years until his death in 2013.
Tom loved Christmas – he used to call us first thing on Christmas Day to ask if Father Christmas had been, even if we were going to see him a couple of hours later. His excitement about it was infectious, so we all miss him at this time of year in particular. Now, my husband, Ian and my son, Joe, live with the knowledge that they are two-and-a-half times more likely to develop prostate cancer due to the family link.
My second ‘Man of Men’ is for all our wonderful supporters who have walked, run, cycled, volunteered, fundraised and supported our cause in countless other ways. Every minute you have spent supporting us has helped us tell more men about their risk of developing prostate cancer and the work we do to support them. Every pound you raised or donated will help us fund more lifesaving research and provide support for men worried about or living with a prostate cancer diagnosis.
It means so much to us to know that there are so many people out there who are with us in the fight against prostate cancer. Thank you!
Finally, my third ‘Man of Men’ is in tribute to all the men we’ve lost to prostate cancer this year. The number is startling, now approaching 12,000. Men like Peter Sowerby, Paul Dear and Ralph Ellis – and so many many more. It breaks my heart that 12,000 more families, like mine, will be missing a grandfather, father, husband, brother or son this Christmas. That number keeps rising and prostate cancer overtook breast cancer as the third most common cancer killer this year. But we’re doing everything we can to reverse that upward trend in prostate cancer deaths.
This past year has seen us push further than ever before – we had our largest ever research project, which will help to give men the right treatment which is effective for their cancer; the largest ever number of contacts with our Specialist Nurse service; and the most funds ever donated by the public to Prostate Cancer UK to allow us to continue our vital work.
And 2019 promises to be even bigger, with preparations for a five-year trial of a potential screening programme almost complete, millions of pounds-worth of ground-breaking research projects you’ve helped us fund continuing to show promise, and our March for Men returns in more locations around the UK than ever before.
To all of our fantastic supporters, thank you for everything you’ve done over the last 12 months. We’ve made some huge strides towards taming prostate cancer and we couldn’t have achieved any of this without you.
Together we will stop prostate cancer being a killer.
Merry Christmas everyone.