Dozens of people on Hayling Island tackle marathon challenge to raise funds and awareness for Prostate Cancer UK

DOZENS of charity supporters on Hayling Island are lacing up their trainers for a marathon challenge raising awareness of prostate cancer.

By Belinda Dickins
Friday, 8th January 2021, 4:12 pm
Dozens of people on Hayling Island are taking on a marathon challenge for Prostate Cancer UK. Pictured: Mark, Joe and Livvy Coates with Luna the dog
Dozens of people on Hayling Island are taking on a marathon challenge for Prostate Cancer UK. Pictured: Mark, Joe and Livvy Coates with Luna the dog

Walking, running and cycling 26.2 miles in January for Prostate Cancer UK’s #RunTheMonth challenge are members of Heart of Hayling Boxing Academy, firefighters from Hayling Fire Station and many more.

The idea came about when Mark Coates from Heart of Hayling saw the campaign on Facebook and wanted to get his team of volunteers involved.

Mark said: ‘Last time we were in lockdown, we repurposed our volunteer hours to deliver more than 18,000 medicines around the island.

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Dozens of people on Hayling Island are taking on a marathon challenge for Prostate Cancer UK. Pictured: Mike Spencer

‘This time the chemists are much better prepared and we were looking to be helpful again for the community.

‘This challenge is accessible and inclusive which our boxing community is all about on Hayling.’

Mike Spencer, one of the lead boxing coaches at Hayling Sports Centre, is urging people to get checked out after he was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year.

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Dozens of people on Hayling Island are taking on a marathon challenge for Prostate Cancer UK. Pictured: Paul Hawker and Nigel Wichall

Now in remission, Mike is walking the charity challenge and has been joined by many of his fellow coaches.

The 59-year-old was diagnosed with prostate cancer last year, after proactively seeking a blood test from his GP even though he was symptomless.

Mike went through 37 sessions of radiotherapy while being cared for by Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham and he said staff treated him with ‘dignity and respect’ throughout.

He added: ‘During the process I met a lot of people both professionals in the NHS and people who were having their treatment at the same time as me.

‘What was apparent was a lot of people found out they had cancer when they already had symptoms, unfortunately this limits the NHS ability to deal with that.

‘Some of the tests you go through aren’t particularly nice so I think a lot of people get put off and leave it and don’t get tested.

‘We’re hoping to raise a bit of money and hopefully my story will help others to take that step and go and get themselves tested.’

Also taking part in the challenge at 14 members of the Hayling Fire Station crew, who have raised more than £550 already.

Watch manager Mark Pannell said: ‘We thought it would be really good for our mental health because obviously we’re under lockdown again.

‘We’re always keen to help out with any charity, we do what we can when we can, especially in our own community.’

According to Prostate Cancer UK, one man dies every 45 minutes from prostate cancer in the UK.

Tracey Pritchard, director of fundraising and supporter engagement at the charity, said: ‘We’re incredibly proud that so many people on Hayling Island have joined our team of remarkable runners for Run the Month: Marathon Edition, helping to raise vital funds for Prostate Cancer UK and men like Mike affected by prostate cancer.’

For more information, visit runthemonthme.prostatecanceruk.org as there is still time to join up.

To donate, visit Hayling Fire Station and Heart of Hayling Boxing Academy’s Facebook pages for more information.

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