Just before Christmas, I received an email from a man named Gareth O’Brien. Gareth was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2008, aged 25, but after a course of surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy, moved in to remission. So far, he’s stayed there. While this was incredibly difficult in itself, Gareth was studying for an Environmental Sciences degree at the University of Plymouth at the time of his treatment. He went on to complete a post-graduate degree in Business Management after that, a brilliant achievement considering all that he has been through.
Gareth emailed me to alert me to his campaign to raise funds for Orchid, a UK registered cancer charity that focuses on the male-specific cancers: prostate, penile and testicular cancer. After surviving testicular cancer for five years, Gareth has decided to climb five mountains to raise money, increase awareness and inspire other cancer sufferers to keep fighting this terrible disease. He will be climbing in April and June of this year. While not an experienced climber, he is passionate and determined to help such an important cause. I can only imagine how difficult his training is going to be, but he is raring to go and I wish him all the success in the world for the arduous climbs ahead.
As many of you know, this is an area about which I feel strongly. In September, I wrote about my efforts to have the Christie NHS Foundation Trust adopt a rigorous standard of quality in caring for cancer sufferers, which you can read about here. Back in May, I wrote about my successful campaign to have abiraterone made available on the NHS, a real boon for prostate cancer sufferers which you can read about here. Male cancer is a subject on which I often write and often speak about in parliament, so I was delighted to hear from someone trying to make a difference in an area which is often overlooked and underfunded.
Gareth is already on the way to reaching his ambitious fundraising target of £10,000, but he needs all the help he can get if he’s to get there by April. You can help yourself, donating to by clicking on his JustGiving page. You can also follow his campaign’s Twitter and Facebook accounts. The links to all of these are listed at the end of this post.
I think it’s amazing that someone who has fought so hard to beat cancer can now do something so positive for a cause that he believes in. He has asked me to publicise his campaign, and I’ll do the same here; please share these links around and help Gareth to reach and exceed his £10,000 target. It’s a fantastic thing to give to, and I’m sure you’ll all join me in wishing him the best of luck.
Gareth’s JustGiving page: JustGiving.com/Gareths5-4-5
The campaign’s Twitter feed: @5Mountsfor5Years
And its Facebook page: Facebook.com/5Mountainsfor5Years