Friday, 21 June 2013

Beggars can’t be choosers when it comes to prostate cancer



 Every little helps: NEDPSA member Dorrie Warner and one of the many generous donors at the Tesco store on Exmouth's Salterton Road

“It’s a shame you have to beg for money,” was one lady’s comment to me in Exmouth’s Tesco foyer. Yes, standing there in my yellow tabard collecting for NEDPSA isn’t the most exciting activity I’d have chosen. But the weather was rather iffy for gardening and we had to do some shopping anyway. So the two-hour stint with my friend Annie was not especially arduous.

Yes, maybe the Government should be providing all the money that prostate support associations need. But fund-raising is only partly about raising cash; the other part is making people aware of an issue.

Chairman of the Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton branch of NEDPSA David Warner and his wife Dorrie 

In our case the issue is the potentially deadly disease that is prostate cancer. Responsible, so they say, for over 10,000 deaths annually in the UK.  Or in other words, one every hour.

I can’t quite understand why 9,000 of those deaths occur in England. Or why in the USA, with its much bigger population, the mortality rate is only just over 32,000 per annum. But it was clear that our presence struck a chord with many of the people going in and out of the store.

Occasionally someone would suddenly see us with our yellow tabards and prostate cancer literature, stop their shopping trolley without warning and fumble in a purse or a wallet. It caused an unexpected jam, to which they were oblivious. For a few seconds, maybe, we had brought back painful memories of a grandfather, father or husband who had fallen victim to the disease. 


Budleigh blogger Michael Downes and friend Annie meet another generous donor
During our two-hour stint three women told us of their husbands who had died from prostate cancer. One man was awaiting the result of his biopsy. Countless others filled our collecting boxes without telling us their stories.

Almost all thanked us for what we were doing before we acknowledged whatever they had donated.  

Members of the Exmouth and Budleigh Salterton branch of NEDPSA collected a total of £454.22. Grateful thanks to Tesco for allowing branch members to be based at the Exmouth store. I will be interviewed about prostate cancer and men’s health on Exmouth’s community radio station Bay FM on Wednesday 26 June at 12.15 pm.  For more information about NEDPSA (North and East Devon Prostate Support Association) click on  




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