An Altrincham man has launched a campaign to raise awareness of prostate cancer – three years after being told he was terminally ill with the disease.
Tony Collier, who is currently Provost of Altrincham, is behind Paint Altrincham Blue!, which he hopes will spread awareness of the second most common cause of cancer death among UK men.
Over 30 town centre businesses will be illuminating their shop fronts in blue, with cafes making blue cakes and Maskell Opticians showcasing a display of blue frames in their window and donating 10% of all blue-frame glasses sold during the week.
Tony says the key message is that from the age of 50, men can request a PSA test to screen for prostate cancer – something he says would have caught his disease at a treatable stage.
He said: “Men over 50 need to get tested otherwise they could end up like me, terminally ill at 60. What I subsequently realised was that I could have requested a PSA test every year from the age of 50, which could have picked it up. By the time I was diagnosed it had already spread thoughout my body. If you want to end up like me, do nothing.”
Tony said he had no symptoms at all before his terminal diagnosis.
“I went from training to run an ultra-marathon to terminally ill in 36 hours in May 2017 when my runner’s groin strain turned out to be far worse,” he added. “I was told that I may only have two years to live and, amazingly, they told me I’d probably had it for 10 years from age 50 – I was 60 at diagnosis. In that 10 years I’d run 19 marathons and a 56 mile ultra-marathon. I’d had no symptoms whatsoever!”
The Paint Altrincham Blue! event will last from Monday until Saturday November 7th, when a Heritage/Health Walk will take place. Walkers will start nears the war memorial in Hale and, subject to permission, will finish in Stamford Square in Altrincham. Participants can commence any time between 10am and 2pm and they will self-guide after they have downloaded a special map. The map will show landmarks taking in the town’s heritage sites whilst presenting facts about health.
Tony said his most recent test results in September showed that his condition remained “stable”, but he added: “It won’t stay that way because the treatment will fail.
“I suffer pretty severely from the side-effects of the treatment. It reduces your testosterone which has reduced my muscle mass and led to weight gain. Fatigue is the worst thing, it knocks you for six. Counter-intuitively, when I feel fatigued I go for a run – it really is the best thing for it.”
A former Chairman and board member of Altrincham Chamber of Commerce, board member of Altrincham Forward and Chair of Altrincham Neighbourhood Business, Tony is available for video talks throughout next week. He can be contacted