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Walk for Prostate Cancer UK organised by two sisters is in memory of March dad Stephen Goakes

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Two March sisters are organising a special event to raise awareness of prostate cancer.

Stephen Goakes, who died of prostate cancer in 2011. (6368238)
Stephen Goakes, who died of prostate cancer in 2011. (6368238)

Lou Goakes, 35, and her sister Katie Goakes, 28, are holding the event on February 10 in West End Park, March, in memory of their dad Stephen, who died of the disease in 2011.

The March for Men is part of a national campaign being run by Prostate Cancer UK, which aims to raise awareness of the disease and raise money for research, too.

Lou, who is spearheading the organising, has previously held fundraising events including a head shave for both Macmillan Cancer Support and Marie Curie in memory of her mum Wendy Goakes, who died of cancer aged 38 in 1994.

Lou, who with partner Jamie Reynolds has a four-year-old son, said it was having Ruben that partly inspired her to organise the walk.

She said: “Having a son made me think about prostate cancer and the fact it is not talked about in the same way as women’s cancers are. I would like to think that by the time Ruben has grown up there will be better treatments, or even better, no more prostate cancer.

“I think dad had been ill with the disease for a while before he told us. He had been suffering with lower back pain and went to the doctor, who thought he had slipped a disc. Dad had acupuncture and other treatment for the back pain so, by the time it was realised he had prostate cancer, it had spread to his spine and it was too late.

“There is a routine test for the disease and all men aged over 45 are entitled to have it. But I think a lot of men don’t like going to the doctors. They are not like women, who have always been encouraged to get themselves checked out with smear tests, and mammograms and are better at seeking help earlier.

“Prostate cancer can be treated and there is a really good survival rate if it is found early, so it is really important men take up the chance to have the routine test.”

The walk on February 10 will start from the bandstand at 10.30am and follow the route of the weekly park run, which is three miles, or four laps of the park.

Lou said everyone is welcome to join in on the day but would prefer people to sign up via her Facebook page, especially those who would like a special T-shirt, as they have to be ordered in advance.

She is hoping for a large turn-out, and while there is no set fee for taking part, Lou is suggesting a £5 donation. Those that cannot complete the full four laps are welcome to join in and do a distance that suits them.

Donations can also be made through Lou’s Justgiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/LGoakes. For more details visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/237603243801314/?ti=cl

Lou concluded: “If people can join the walk that would be great, the more the merrier. If people can donate that would be amazing. We want to raise as much awareness and money as we can.”

n In the UK, about 1-in-8 men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point in their lives. Older men, men with a family history of prostate cancer and black men are more at risk. If you are worried or if you have any symptoms, speak to your GP.

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