Checkemlads – Testical Cancer Awareness
This year’s charity is Checkemlads which is a charity set up to raise awareness of testicular cancer and help those going through it and aftercare. Also supporting local organisations & causes.
Please read the following introduction from the founder Phil Morris.
How it all started. Well it was April 2003 and I was looking forward that evening to going to a drum clinic show hosted by Steve White who was my favourite drummer. Steve was Paul Weller’s drummer and had been with Paul since the formation of the Style Council back in 1980. On the very same day as the drum clinic I was told I had testicular cancer, I missed the show.
Whilst going through cancer I felt very lost and alone. I was angry about not really being told to check my testicles and also the lack of support for young men. I really just wanted advice and to talk to someone who had actually been through it. There were charities that offered help but I wanted someone who knew from personal experience.
One day I decided to contact Steve White through his website asking when then next drum clinic would be, I explained why I missed his last one. Steve very kindly replied saying he would be back in Liverpool in July for a Paul Weller concert and invited me along to meet him. Backstage, before the show was brilliant, even though I had only just finished chemo and wasn’t feeling that well. I sat and chatted about Drums with Steve and he introduced me to Paul Weller with whom I had a wonderful discussion about some of his songs.
I told Steve that I was upset and concerned about the lack of support and awareness at the time I was diagnosed and he offered to help with the setting up of a website that was aimed more at younger men and not so uniformed as the others that would educate and also offer advice and support, I was really delighted. Not long after Steve put me in contact with one of his friends who offered to help me setup the website. Following its launch it soon became apparent that the website would be very successful. Mick Riley MBE who is a Sergeant Major in the army and a life long friend who also had testicular cancer came on board about 9 months later as he wanted to be involved in raising awareness in the British Armed Forces and has since been given an MBE for his tireless work.
If I’m honest, I never really wanted to be involved in a charity, I just wanted to help others in a small way but as interest grew in the website so did my involvement which was being personally funded. The costs of travel, promotion, posters, phone bills etc. was taking a heavy toll on my personal finances so I decided in 2008 to apply for and was successful in being awarded registered charity status. I believe that ‘checkemlads.com’ was the very first ‘.com’ registered charity ever founded.
We now have a small army of helpers and friends who are all unpaid survivors and we all really enjoy what we do with checkemlads.com charity. Some help with support, some with awareness and some do both. Mark Porter is a survivor from Stoke who really got stuck into the cause and has taken the charity up to were it should have been years ago. I’d also like to mention a few others, Matt Wakefield, Nick O’Hara Smith, Simon Shakeshaft, Shane Rankin, Marc Sheridan and Andy Coles. We are also involved with other charities and campaigns.
We all have normal day jobs but all make time for such things as awareness talks in schools and work places, offering telephone support, awareness through social media and the internet, visiting hospitals to offer help and advice to men and their families going through this illness and every year we hold our annual memorial walk up Mount Snowden in memory of those who have passed through testicular cancer.
We hope you find the information and films on this site helpful and remember don’t be alone, get in touch.