A Market Rasen man has gone to new heights to raise awareness of a cancer that men find it difficult to talk about.
Andrew Downie admits it was a ‘bolt out of the blue’ when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer last year.
After having the tumour removed and undergoing chemotherapy, one year on he has taken part in a walk up the highest British mountain outside Scotland - Snowdon.
“For me, the walk was a bit of giving back to the charity that has supported me whilst going through this life changing experience,” said Andrew, who was one of 250 cancer survivors, family members and friends taking part in the event.
“Everyone went at different speeds and there was a lot of camaraderie, as well as remembering.
“One gentleman I got chatting to faced an uncertain future as he told me his cancer had returned.
“The walk more than met my expectations; it was a chance to raise awareness and an opportunity to do some fundraising.”
Andrew set out to raise £500 for Checkemlads.com, but such has been the support his total now stands at £880.
“I have been completely blown away by the support,” said Andrew, who is manager at Waitrose, Willerby.
“Customers have been supporting me, as well as my friends and work partners - it has been brilliant and it is all for Checkemlads.”
And donations can still be made by logging on to www.justgiving.com/Andrew-Downie
Time to take your life in your hands
Having had surgery and chemotherapy things are looking good for Andrew, but he still faces regular blood tests, chest x-rays and CT scans over the next five years to ensure all is well.
And he has this message for all the men out there: “The whole embarrassment thing - you have to get over it, it doesn’t do you any favours.
“Women know and read about checking themselves, but with men there is still that problem.
“Touch wood, my cancer was caught early - and that is the thing, there is a great survival rate for testicular cancer, but it has got to be caught early, so you have to be aware of the symptoms - you can’t afford not to.
“And it is not an ‘old man’s’ problem - the average age is something like 26. So young men need to be aware.
“Since I first went to the doctor, I have been really well looked after by Market Rasen Surgery and local hospitals.
“I can’t fault the treatment and the level of support I have received.”
For more information, support and advice log on to checkemlads.com, which is run by unpaid survivors.