June 24, 2008

Cancer Battle Inspires Gary

By Emma King

Prostate cancer campaigner Gary Steele has helped raise more than pounds200,000 over the past nine years to help the NHS support and treat sufferers across South Cheshire.

Gary, who has devoted his life to raising awareness of prostate cancer since he was first diagnosed in 1999, is the chairman of Leighton Hospital Prostate Cancer Support Group.

The group's latest donation to Leighton Hospital will ensure that surgeons are trained using the most up-to-date equipment. Last month, 67-year-old Gary handed over pounds35,000 of equipment and resources to the Michael Heal Unit at the Crewe hospital.

Around pounds14,000 of the donation has funded two new items of training equipment, which will enable surgeons who work in partnership across Leighton Hospital and Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester, to perform laparoscopic surgery.

In addition to the training equipment, the group has also donated pounds5,000 for additional computers, new seating and telephones in the urology department and has also pledged pounds8,000 towards staff training and development.

Gary's hard work and continued support has earned him a nomination in The Sentinel's Our Heroes awards in the Charity Champion and Volunteers category.

Staff from the Michael Heal Unit at Leighton Hospital have nominated Gary for the fund-raising work he does to support Leighton Hospital.

Mary Cowen, urology nurse specialist, said: "Over the past decade, Gary has been a huge support to staff here in the urology team.

"His tireless fund-raising has benefited hundreds of men who are treated at Leighton and Wythenshawe Hospital, with whom we work in close partnership.

"He has not only raised money for equipment, he has supported us in the training of surgeons to carry out prostate operations and provided a constant supply of leaflets and literature, which our patients can take home with them.

"His group provides ongoing support to many of our male patients who have been affected by this cancer - a condition which many men are reluctant to discuss."

Gary was delighted to be nominated for an Our Heroes award.

He said: "It's wonderful to be nominated but I do the work I do because I want to raise awareness of prostate cancer and support people who are diagnosed with the disease.

"I couldn't imagine not doing it because it is a big part of my life. The motivation to raise funds from a group like ours has raised thousands of pounds for Leighton Hospital's unit of urology.

"I will continue to fight and campaign to improve services for prostate cancer sufferers."

(c) 2008 Sentinel, The (Stoke-on-Trent UK). Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning. All rights Reserved.