ICE Advent: The Red Sock Campaign
9th December 2016
Todays #ICEAdvent is a guest blog from founder of The Red Sock Campaign, Keith S. Cass MBE.
My journey with prostate cancer began on January 26th 2006.
Here was a very fit man who had never been ill in his life being told he had a grade of prostate cancer that killed most men within 2 years.
But I was invincible; I had to be, because between my four children and running my own business I had never had time to be ill.
I hadn’t seen my GP for 8 years.
I didn’t know that a simple blood test when I was 50 could have found my cancer when a cure was still possible.
Life was now about to change forever.
The first 12 months of my cancer journey were spent researching everything and anything about prostate cancer under the guidance of Professor Malcolm Mason and Dr John Staffurth at Velindre Cancer Centre.
In 2007 inspired by the Phoenix5 website of Robert Vaughan Young and by the cancer hospitals I had visited around he UK and the rest of the world, I decided that I wanted to share my experiences with men here in Wales believing that men deserved better.
In 2007, I launched the Red Sock Campaign with the aim of raising the awareness of prostate cancer.
The website www.theredsock.co.uk was soon followed by Facebook The Red Sock Campaign and twitter @redsockcampaign.
My own research told me that almost 11,000 men in the UK died each year of prostate cancer and many more had died caused by the treatments.
An eminent Harley Street surgeon said that 11,000 UK prostate cancer deaths is the equivalent of 3 jumbo jets full of men crashing with NO survivors EVERY MONTH.
By mid 2008 I was receiving emails from all over the world, men and their families wanting to know more about red sock.
The difficulty of understanding prostate cancer issues is not confined to people in Wales, it is similar the world over.
Now I was seeking information and answers about research items from my prostate cancer peers.
To help me better understand the issues that patients faced I took my red sock campaign into Velindre CC where I sit in the out patients waiting area twice a week just to talk to patients offering help using my own experience.
Wanting to know more about end of life, I volunteered to work for Marie Curie at their Hospice in Penarth.
During my 4 years there I saw firsthand people going through the final stages of their lives and the impact it had on their friends and families. I also observed the amazing work of all the staff at the hospice.
In 2013 I was amazed to receive a letter from the Queen saying that she had awarded me the MBE for my red sock campaign services to all those affected by prostate cancer. Embarrassed, yes, because I was only doing something that I was passionate about but I was proud to represent Wales and men with prostate cancer.
Today I continue to work 7 days a week with my research, in an attempt to be the best I can be so that I can help others.
Keith S. Cass MBE