A PASSIONATE Warwick man is hoping to send prostate cancer packing.
Semi-retired businessman Graham Fulford has been holding prostate cancer screening events around the country since 2004 through his charity, The Graham Fulford Charitable Trust.
To date, the charity has arranged 75,000 screenings – known as Prostate Specific Antigen tests – detecting nearly 1,200 cases of cancer in men 40 and over.
Having lost two important people in his life to the disease – both who discovered it in its advanced stages – Graham became determined to prevent others from suffering the same fate.
The 70 year-old – who had known nothing about the illness before it struck loved ones – sought advice from Prostate Cancer UK, and began his mission with the help of urologist David Baxter-Smith.
Although figures from Public Health England show 96.6 per cent of patients survive beyond 12 months of diagnosis, it is the 3.4 per cent that do not which concerns Graham.
He said: “The UK is getting better a treating the cancer, but not finding it. Around 40,000 men a year are diagnosed, so that small percentage is over 1,000 men.
“The best time to get tested is when you don’t have symptoms because waiting until you do could mean it’s too late.”
Following a screening – which take around ten minutes – men are posted their score on a colour coded letter to indicate the risk of prostate cancer.
Those who receive amber or red, are advised to see their GP.
Graham said: “We arm men with the information about what amber or red could potentially mean, to give them the confidence to insist on further testing.”
The events are held in town halls, conferences and sports clubs, including monthly in Warwick – usually at the Nelson Club on Charles Street.
And his passion has not gone unnoticed by the wider community.
Warwick District Council chairman, Alan Boad chose the trust as one of his charities, prompting a colleague at the council to fundraise for the trust through an epic bike journey.
And Graham himself is taking the plunge down the world’s fastest zip line in Wales, as well as shedding 20 kgs to further boost funding.
Graham is often the recipient of many heartfelt letters and donations from patients who were treated in time thanks to the trust.
One man – sadly diagnosed too late – even left instructions to donate the money from the sale of his fishing gear to the charity.
Graham, who was also honoured with carrying the Olympic torch during the relay in 2012 at Warwick Castle, concluded: “The satisfaction of knowing how many people we’ve helped just makes everything worthwhile.
“The biggest kick for me in life, is doing something for somebody else.”
* The trust has recently applied for a £25,000 grant from The Masonic Community Awards. Visit mcf.org.uk/vote to vote for the charity.
Visit www.psatests.org.uk for more information on screenings and the trust.