Movember is a powerful charity event for so many reasons. It means even more to us at Churchill Hui as we have team members whose lives have been affected by the challenges Movember aims to tackle – that’s prostate cancer, testicular cancer, suicide and mental health.
For our “Movember Motivation” series, retired Architect Geoff Mules has courageously shared his personal reasons for participation. Although recently retired from Churchill Hui, Geoff was integral to the growth and direction of the firm for over 30 years and still provides consultancy and advice.
Without beating around the bush, during the last 18 months Geoff has been diagnosed and treated for prostate cancer. Geoff was well aware of the importance of prostate checks, sadly having witnessed some of his friends battle the illness.
But many men are unaware of the need to have prostate tests and unfortunately just getting checked isn’t enough, as Geoff explains: “It’s important to harass your GP to give you a regular test. My GP didn’t want to initially, as I had a test the year before, but I pushed my case and had the test.”
His PSA level indicated a problem, but this early pick up meant they could act quickly. 10 days later he found himself at the Rapid Diagnostic Clinic at the Royal Marsden Hospital. (The PSA test measures the level of Prostate-specific antigen in a man’s blood).
Geoff is an optimistic person and felt positive, accompanied by wife Alison, as he went through several tests including an uncomfortable MRI. A week later, the MRI result showed shadows, so the next step was a biopsy. Geoff started to feel a cloud of worry descend. This turned to frustration and anger when he learned that the C-word – that had killed his friends – but was now trying to take hold of his own body. His options were Radical Prostatectomy, Radiotherapy and Hormone Therapy. His treatment was administered over two days in Royal Marsden, and he was discharged to start the road to recovery at home. It was a truly frightening time and Geoff was lucky to have Alison for emotional support and to be on hand as his nurse.
Despite having friends and family for support, it’s normal to feel isolated and victimised – depressed even – when facing cancer. As we said, Geoff’s an optimistic kind of guy and decided to seek further support in the form of a cycling club called The Prostate Peddlers. From cancer treatment to mountain biking in a matter of months, it’s been a lifeline.
Geoff says: “At the moment I’m fine, but my encounter with prostate cancer prompted me to improve my fitness. The cycling club is great because we have all been through or are going through it together. I also do a weekly one-to-one gym session.”
Not all men in Geoff’s situation would have the network, confidence or opportunity to seek medical help and a support group. This is why Movember is on a mission to improve diagnosis, knowledge and empowerment for men, to ultimately improve men’s health.
Geoff’s participation in Movember is, naturally, growing a ‘Mo’ along with the other Mo Bros. The Mo Sistas are ‘moving’ 60km throughout the month. The team spirit is underpinned by these personal reasons for tackling men’s health.
“I think it’s great to have the support of everyone in the office – not just for me but for all the other men out there suffering – whether that’s from prostate cancer or from depression. As the three musketeers say, ‘One for all and all for one’”.
We wish Geoff good health for the future and thank him for sharing his story. You can sponsor the Churchill Hui team “Masterley Moustachery and Movement” at https://moteam.co/masterly-moustachery-and-movement-churchill-hui.. We’re raising funds and awareness for all the dads, brothers, sons and mates in our lives to stop men dying too young.