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Posted on Jun 16 2022 by Gabrielle Willis

A healthcare assistant based in Essex is hoping to keep the “memory” of his grandfather “alive” while also raising awareness of a health condition that is more prevalent in black men.  

To mark Men’s Health Week, which started on Monday, June 13, Gift Chingwena who works at St Andrew’s Healthcare is taking part in a fundraising march in honour of his late grandfather who died from prostate cancer.

Gift said: “Before my grandfather was diagnosed I had no prior knowledge of prostate cancer and how being a black male meant I had a greater risk of developing the condition.

“I have since discovered that black men have a one in four chance of being diagnosed with prostate cancer while other men have a one in eight chance.” 

Gift lost his grandfather in 2016 and says he is still coming to terms with his loss.

He said: “It took me a long time for me to come to terms with losing him and, honestly, even though it has been a few years I am still processing it. We don’t know why he got prostate cancer exactly, but the more people who know about the health condition, the better.

That’s why I’m taking part in the Prostate Cancer UK March for Men this weekend to help keep the memory of my grandad alive, while also helping to raise awareness of the condition. I also think taking part is a special way to say ‘happy heavenly Father’s Day’.”

Gift is hoping that by openly talking about some of the symptoms of prostate cancer, more men will be aware of some of the early warning signs.

Symptoms of prostate cancer can include needing to pee more frequently, often during the night, needing to rush to the toilet, difficulty in starting to pee, feeling that the bladder has not emptied fully and sometimes blood can appear in the urine or semen.

Gift wants men to visit their GP as soon as they start showing any symptoms so they can seek treatment sooner, rather than later.

In the meantime he is hoping colleagues at St Andrew’s Healthcare will support his cause.

He said: “I know everyone is not financially where they want to be at this moment but I am grateful for any amount you are able to donate.

The money you are donating will help fund lifesaving research into better tests and treatments to help men live long and live well.”

To sponsor Gift, visit his just giving page.