“It was a year of luck and coincidence, followed by pain and fear”: EastEnders star reveals how award ceremony led to dad’s cancer diagnosis
This Father’s Day, EastEnders star Davood Ghadami shares the story of how presenting an award to one of our volunteers, Errol McKellar, helped his dad to get his prostate cancer diagnosed early.
Best known for playing Kush Kazemi in EastEnders and starring in Strictly Come Dancing, Davood Ghadami presented an NHS Heroes award last year to mechanic Errol McKellar. Since his diagnosis in 2010, Errol has been helping to promote awareness of prostate cancer through his garage in Hackney and local football team.
Watching the awards show on TV was Davood’s biggest fan – his dad, Mo. After hearing about Errol’s experience and the risk of prostate cancer for men over 50, Mo went to see his GP, which led to a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
“After the diagnosis, it was like a shutter came down. My brain and mind was completely devoted to cancer,” said Mo, speaking on Radio 5 Live.
“That spiralled into this whole last year, where we have watched Dad fighting that cancer,” says Davood. “It was a year of luck and coincidence, followed by pain and fear. All off the back of a chance opportunity to go to an award ceremony.”
Mo had his prostate removed through surgery before having hormone therapy and radiotherapy, and two months ago, was given the news that the cancer had gone.
“I really want men to be comfortable to talk about this and be willing to go to the doctor,” says Davood. “I think there was something about the way that Errol spoke about it and the way he told his story that allowed my dad to think: ‘Why not? I’m of that age’.”
As part of the segment for Radio 5 Live, Davood surprised his dad by introducing him to Errol.
“It was really emotional. I wanted my dad to meet Errol, but it was all about the timing. I wanted to wait for my dad to come out the other side of this. My dad felt like he owed Errol a lot,” said Davood.
Sitting together in a local pub, Mo said of Errol: “I’m sitting next to an angel. I would have been dead if it wasn’t because of him. I am here because of this man.”
You can listen to the show on the BBC website. The segment where Mo meets Errol is at 49.43 and an interview with Davood is at 2:44.30