Old Catton woman in bid to raise awareness about cancer after family tragedy

A woman from Old Catton, near Norwich, has vowed, together with her mother and two sisters, to raise awareness of cancer in memory of her father who died from the disease.

Chris Barber, a father of three and grandfather of two, was just 52 when he died following a nine-year battle with cancer of the penis, which started when he was diagnosed following a routine operation back in 2002.

Mr Barber, a carpenter, later had the lymph nodes in his groin removed before later bouts of chemotherapy and radiotherapy, but finally lost his fight in October.

Since his death, daughters Sharon, 26, a mother of one from Old Catton, Katie, 23, from Fakenham, and Kerry, 30, a mother of one from Sculthorpe, have been keen to help their mother Anita, 52, raise awareness about male cancers.

Before he died, Mr Barber, from Sculthorpe, became aware of a new charity being set up by former prostate cancer sufferer Mel Lacey. Mr Barber spent time in hospital with Mr Lacey, a former police officer, and as a result of hearing about the Blue Ribbon Foundation, which aims to do for men what the Pink Ribbon Foundation does for women, urged his family to support its work – even after he was gone.

Mr Barber told his family that any money given in his memory should be put to good use in raising the profile of male cancers.

The family donated more than �1,500 and are now giving their time to work with the charity.

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Anita said: 'I loved Chris so much and to see him battling against this awful disease for so long was heart-breaking.

'We all miss him terribly, but we now want to use our tragedy to help others. We want to wake men up to the threats they face and we want to tell them that in so many cases, early detection can often lead to successful treatment.'

Mr Lacey, who was diagnosed with cancer two years ago after being prompted to go for a test by a friend who was suffering from the disease, helped set up the charity to help other men suffering from cancer and said he had been blown away by the support of the Barber family.

He said: 'They are doing exactly what the Blue Ribbon Foundation is trying to encourage – talking more openly about previously hushed-up subjects.'

For more information about the Blue Ribbon Foundation, contact Mel Lacey via mel@blueribbonfoundation.org.uk or log onto www.blueribbonfoundation.org.uk

Would you like to pay tribute to a loved one? Call Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk