A Redhill father of three is teaming up with his father-in-law for a 1,000-mile bike ride to raise funds and awareness of prostate cancer research.
Rob Hack, 38, from Redhill, is undertaking the challenge with his father-in-law Bertram Wilkins, 69, from East Sussex, who has battled the disease. They will be cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats in a sponsored pedal-push expected to take two weeks.
They are hoping to raise £5,000 for The Urology Foundation, the only charity in the UK that covers all urological conditions, including prostate, bladder and kidney cancer. The Foundation funds research to develop better diagnoses and treatments of urological diseases, and trains surgeons in the latest techniques, such as robotic laparoscopy.
Rob, who is married to Bertram’s daughter, Michelle, works for the home retail group Argos, who have pledged to match up to 25% of all funds raised.
They will start their journey on Friday, June 13, and will be accompanied by Rob’s friend, Simon Casse.
Bertram is no stranger to cycling, having ridden since he was a schoolboy and previously cycled from Bilbao in Spain to St Malo in France for charity.
But Rob has never undertaken a cycle challenge before. He has been cycling up to 140 miles at weekends in preparation. Rob said: “I wanted to participate in something meaningful out of respect for Bert, who has been hugely inspirational.”
He said: “I saw first-hand the impact cancer had on him and Michelle. It is the uncertainty of it all. They both really struggled. It was a very difficult time.
“Bert and I have always got on well but our relationship has strengthened off the back of this training.”
He said: “It has really helped us connect. The challenge is an opportunity to spend time together and to get to know each other a bit better.’’ Rob, who is a trained scuba diver and also a keen skydiver, has always enjoyed sport.
He said: “My lifestyle hasn’t allowed me to do the level of exercise I usually get involved in, so I have had fitness issues to get over while training, but I’ve lost over a stone. “I’m a bit worried about the challenge but I have this inner belief that I can do most things I put my mind to. “Raising money for The Urology Foundation, which is such a worthwhile charity, and completing such a mammoth ride, will leave me with an enormous sense of achievement.’’ Bertram was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009 after experiencing a very common symptom - urgently needing the toilet.
His GP carried out an examination and sent him for a test, after which Bertram saw a cancer specialist in Maidstone, Kent, who explained he had aggressive prostate cancer which had spread.
The specialist told Bertram he had a 50% chance of survival.
He began radiotherapy, followed by hormone therapy and steroid injections.
And now, five years on, Bertram is still responding to treatment. Earlier this year, his fifth grandchild, Beau, was born, and Bertram loves being a hands-on grandfather to all five.
Rob said Bertram’s diagnosis had forced him to look at his own health. “In the past I’d put health problems off, but I won’t now,” he said. “I am more aware of my health now and more vigilant. I want to be there for my kids and survive.
“Guys think, ‘I’ll be alright, I don’t need to see a doctor.’ But if something doesn’t feel right, go and get yourself checked out. The sooner you go, the better the chance of surviving.’’ People can sponsor Rob's cycling fundraiser online at: www.justgiving.com/LEJOG-JUNE-2014 To find out more about The Urology Foundation call 0207 713 9538, or visit the website at: www.theurologyfoundation.org The Foundation receives no Government funding and relies on donations to fund its work.
Every year, more than 63,800 people in Britain are diagnosed with urological cancers - 174 people per day.
Thirty people die from prostate cancer each day – more than one an hour.
Symptoms of prostate cancer can include difficulty passing urine, passing urine more frequently than usual, especially at night, pain when passing urine and blood in the urine or pain in the groin area.