Men from the Salford community have been taking on this month’s ‘Movember‘ moustache growing challenge to raise money and awareness for prostate cancer.
With over 5 million supporters worldwide, their aim is to reduce the number of men dying prematurely, by funding men’s mental health and suicide prevention projects, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.
John Davis, 49, is walking 60km, as well as growing his moustache for movember in Salford.
He said: “The 60k is significant because it’s to do with how many lives are lost, per day, to these issues.
“Just before lockdown, one of my old colleagues, Brian, passed away from prostate cancer.
“We were lucky enough that his funeral was a day before the first lockdown, so he had a good send-off.”
John added: “We had seen the battle he took on, even when he was ill he was still doing charity work.
“So I helped out and raised donations, and even on his funeral, again, we were all donating.
“There’s a group of us from Vue who are all doing it. Some are running, whereas for me, I haven’t really got the physique of a runner, but I do like to walk. So, we’ve set it to 1k for every person lost.
“It’s just something to help give back to people that we know have been suffering, so that’s been my motivation behind me.”
In the UK, 1 in 8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime, yet many go un-diagnosed.
David Kearney, 57, is currently being treated for prostate cancer. He said:
“I didn’t have any symptoms of prostate cancer, the reason I found out was because I went to the doctor with constipation, as it was giving me a lot of pain.
“A week later I ended up in A&E.
“I was given a blood check. People with prostate cancer usually are between 6 and 8, however, mine came back at 1,050, meaning we knew I already had prostate cancer, and that it had already spread throughout my body.”
After going through chemotherapy twice, 20 lots of radiotherapy and many different types or medication, Kearney is now on his second set of clinical trials.
Last year, the BBC followed Kearney’s journey through his first set of clinical trials.
Kearney shared: “I’m terminal, but I was told that I wouldn’t make it past October, two years ago, but I’m still here fighting, I still have a good life, and that is all thanks to the Christie, and their trials.”
Social isolation has affected many this year, as lockdown means many struggled to stay connected.
Luke Spilsbury, 24, is growing out his ‘Mo’ to raise awareness for men’s mental health: “I know a lot of my male friends are struggling with their mental health, I have 3 male friends who have all either been diagnosed with depression, or taking medication for it, and obviously this year has been really tough for everyone, because we’ve been stuck inside for like 5 months, and now we’re stuck inside for another month.”
I’m raising money for Movember and my target goal is £100, if you could donate £5 or £10 to this amazing cause I’d…
He continued: “Luckily I’ve never really dealt with mental health issues, but this year has been a horrible year for everyone, so it’s a good way of showing support, plus it’s the first year I can finally grow a moustache, so I can finally participate.”
This year’s Mo Bros have had to adapt to fundraising in a lockdown, and are encouraged to “put a virtual or digital spin on ideas you might have done previously”. This change in fundraising reflects the issues many are facing due to the Coronavirus lockdown.
Kearney said: “The worst thing now is that because of Covid, I have to do the trials on my own. It’s awful for my wife because she doesn’t know what’s happening to me most of the time, and I was alone when I was told the first trial wasn’t working, and that my tumours had grown. It was so hard.”
The funds raised by people taking part in Salford Movember – such as Luke and John – go towards projects that aim to improve the quality of life for people like David.
David shared: “Movember helps us a lot, especially at the moment, as charities are struggling for money.
“I know that Cancer Research has made redundancies, which is a massive loss, because it’s only by research that we’re going to be able to get hold of cancer and to be able to live longer with our families.
“With issues like these, usually people don’t know what to say, and men struggle to open up. Movember helps us all, and it’s hard out there at the moment, so everyone needs that thing that will help them feel supported.”
For more on Salford and Movember, visit here.