Persistence is my Middle Name

Persistence is my Middle Name

My name is Gary Steele and I have been the Chairman of the Leighton Hospital Prostate Cancer Support Group since I started it in May 2000. The need to promote awareness and support newly diagnosed men & their families became apparent very early on and also the need to acquire funds quickly.

As a musician from many years past I was able to raise funds through arranging social evenings, sponsored runs/walks/swims etc. I also came up with the idea to sponsor a class F. MG racing car which raced at all the tracks in the UK; in what is mostly a male dominated sport.   This gave me the opportunity to tap into the MG Owners magazine and clubs which helped to raise funds through racing, rallies etc, and meeting celebrities and I was lucky enough from then on to raise around £50,000 each year.

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Just 3 years ago I also saw the need to arrange PSA testing for early detection prostate cancer as only 8% of eligible men in the UK were tested compared to over 60% across Europe. These events I still arrange in various public, sporting and social locations.

About 2 years ago I heard Dr Stephanie McCardle talk regarding a vaccine project she was involved with at the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre.  This intrigued me as being perhaps the first research into something which could possibly prevent a cancer forming in the prostate and/or treating it successfully.

I was amazed at the lack of interest in general, across the sector, in the prevention/cure for prostate cancer and the tendency to blame it on a  lack of finance.

I convinced our group we should make a donation of £5000 to the JvG Centre which allowed me to visit and be astounded at the dedication, skill and knowledge of those involved with this project.

I have since approached various businesses, organizations to try and encourage them to donate to this exceptional project, but unfortunately I don’t possess the “clout” to convince them to do so yet at least; seemingly it needs a rather high profile celebrity to come on board. However, I will keep trying and will continue to work with this amazing centre.

Gary Steele MBE

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