Surrey charity, the Prostate Project used two glittering nights of entertainment from some of the biggest names in music including Van Morrison, Paul Carrack and Kiki Dee to launch their ambitious fundraising drive for a mobile prostate cancer detection bus.
Building on the hugely successful ‘Buy-a-Brick’ campaign that saw over £3 million raised by the volunteer based charity for the Stokes Centre for Urology at the Royal Surrey County Hospital, the latest initiative is encouraging people to ‘Get on Board’ and buy £10 tickets to help raise £200,000 to purchase, kit-out and run a mobile PSA blood testing clinic.
The ‘Bus’ as it is affectionately known, will help raise awareness of prostate cancer, acting as a mobile blood testing unit capable of visiting difficult to reach communities and places where men congregate socially such as golf clubs and sporting events, it will even operate at weekends and out of hours.
More than 12,000 men a year die of prostate cancer in the UK, but with early diagnosis, outcomes are improved significantly, which is why all men over 50, particularly those with a family history of prostate cancer, or of Afro-Caribbean heritage are encouraged to consider having a simple PSA blood test.
Alf Turner, Chair of the Prostate Project explains the thinking behind the ‘Get on Board’ campaign.
‘We wanted something that everybody could identify with, and the idea of supporting the bus by getting on board seemed like the obvious plan. People can buy a single ticket, or as many as they like, and they can be sure that every £10.00 will go directly to purchasing, equipping and running the unit. We know that our loyal supporters will certainly ‘get on board’ and the reaction we had at the launch events showed that we are well and truly on the road to success.’
‘The bus will help us engage directly with more men over the age of 50, the PSA test is a simple blood test to detect prostate cancer but we need to make it easier for men to access. Unbelievably, some people still think that the test is a little more, shall we say ‘intrusive’, but it’s not, and part of the reason for the clinic is to allow as many men as possible to have this simple blood test that saves lives’.
The Prostate Project is working in partnership with the Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance on the fundraising drive with the plan being to have the mobile unit on the road by autumn this year.
Professor Stephen Langley, Professional Director of Cancer Services at the Royal Surrey Hospital and a trustee of the charity, says the COVID-19 pandemic over the past 18 months has highlighted the increased need for introducing a mobile clinic.
‘Since the start of the pandemic there has been a significant reduction in referrals to secondary care hospitals for suspected prostate cancer in Surrey and Sussex, so it is vital that we reach these men and the mobile clinic will provide a huge resource to do so. Early prostate cancer usually causes no symptoms and the only way to catch it early is to have a PSA blood test, so please get on board and help us to buy this clinical bus.’
Dr Alex Norman, Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance co-medical director says: ““We are incredibly excited to be working with The Prostate Project to deliver this service. A mobile clinic will enable us to go to the heart of the communities across our cancer region and find those missing men who unfortunately did not come forward during the pandemic. It will take us one step closer towards our ambition to catch prostate cancer at an earlier stage and improve outcomes, especially for those within the risk factor groups.”
The musical spectacular, organised by Tony Smith of Eclectic Live Music, kicked off the campaign in great style with Paul Jones and Friends starring over two nights at G Live in Guildford. ‘Friends’ including Ralph McTell, Paul Carrack, Van Morrison and the fabulous band Jaw Bone were only too happy to appear in support of the Prostate Project and as Paul himself said ‘Our annual fundraiser for the Stokes Centre has become something of a Surrey tradition, and this year is even more special thanks to the ‘Get on Board’ idea. We were all delighted to play for such a great cause’. To donate to the ‘Get on Board’ appeal, please visit www.justgiving.com/campaign/buyaticket
Paul Jones (lead singer from Manfred Mann and BBC Radio 2 Blues Show presenter) at G Live, explaining why the Mobile PSA Testing Clinic is so important
Photo, credit Blackham Images – Van Morrison, Paul Jones and Jaw Bone entertaining the crowd at G Live
Editor’s Note –
About The Prostate Project
The Prostate Project is a charity is based at The Stokes Centre for Urology at the Royal Surrey County Hospital. Its ambition is to give men a better chance of beating prostate cancer. In the past 20 years, the charity has raised over £8 million and helped the Royal Surrey County Hospital achieve ‘Centre of Excellence’ status in the treatment of prostate cancer. The charity supports the Royal Surrey County Hospital, St Luke’s Cancer Centre and Frimley Park Hospital in their efforts to detect and treat prostate cancer, funding awareness campaigns, equipment, and specialist nursing staff. The Prostate Project also raises money to fund ground breaking research and deliver state-of-the-art treatment for men with prostate cancer, alongside running an active patient support group.
Surrey and Sussex Cancer Alliance (SSCA) is one of 21 cancer alliances established across England, and covers a population of just over three million people. It works in partnership with the region’s NHS hospital trusts, clinical commissioning groups, local councils, charities, community and voluntary organisations, patient groups and academic institutes to transform and improve the diagnosis, treatment and care of cancer patients in Surrey and Sussex.
Its aims are to reduce variation and inequalities in the delivery of cancer services across Surrey and Sussex; improve accessibility to cancer services; improve survivorship and outcomes for patients diagnosed with a cancer; create a personalised treatment and recovery plan for patients which reflects their wishes; and share best practice, innovation, and learning across the region. SSCA is based at The Surrey Technology Centre in Guildford.