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Norwich cancer survivor to take life-saving message to N&N open day

PUBLISHED: 14:41 31 May 2011 | UPDATED: 12:19 01 June 2011

Robert Wilkinson (left) says he owes his life to Mel Lacey and the Norwich Evening News. After reading Mel's stories, in the Evening News. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Robert Wilkinson (left) says he owes his life to Mel Lacey and the Norwich Evening News. After reading Mel's stories, in the Evening News. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

© ARCHANT NORFOLK 2011

Men visiting Norfolk's flagship hospital next month will be urged to be vigilant to the signs and symptoms of cancer by a survivor of the disease who has helped set up a new charity.

Mel Lacey, a former policeman, was diagnosed with prostate cancer more than two years ago after being prompted to go for a test by a friend who was suffering from the disease.

Mr Lacey, 62, had no symptoms but the PSA (prostate specific antigens) blood test pointed to a problem and he was referred to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital where the cancer was diagnosed and treated.

The father-of-two and grandfather of one has since helped set up a Blue Ribbon Foundation to do for men what the Pink Women Foundation has done for women in terms of funding research and raising awareness about cancer.

Mr Lacey will now be looking to promote the charity at an open day being held at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital on Saturday, June 18. There will also be a display about the charity, which was officially launched earlier this year and is sponsored by HastingsDirect.Com, the national insurance company. Mr Lacey, said: “It’s an annual open day at the hospital and they’ve asked Blue Ribbon Foundation to have a display there and for me to talk to people about what we’re doing and what we’re trying to achieve.”

As well as helping to promote the charity, Mr Lacey said he hopes to use the event to be able to tell his story and warn other men about the importance of getting themselves checked out for signs of the disease. He said: “When I had the dream of starting a charity to raise the profile of men’s health issues, especially cancer, I said that if by doing so it saved just one life, it would all be worthwhile.”

Earlier this month the Evening News reported how Robert Wilkinson, 62, thanked Mr Lacey for helping to save his life after reading his story prompted him to get himself checked out.

Mr Wilkinson, a former self-employed carpenter from Coltishall, was also diagnosed with the disease after going for a test and has since had his prostate removed.

Mr Lacey, who earlier this month travelled to London to discuss the charity with Norwich North MP Chloe Smith, said he has also been approached by other people who have been affected by his story.

He said: “A wonderful thing happened to me on Saturday. A man came up to me in the supermarket and said hello. He said he’d been following the story in the paper and but didn’t have any money. He said he would keep his eye out for me and when he saw me again would give me some money, I was absolutely touched by it – it was wonderful.”

The open day and fete takes place at the hospital between 11am and 4pm on Saturday, June 18.

For more details about BRF email mel@blueribbonfoundation.org.uk

Are you embarking on a charity campaign? Contact Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk.

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