Wednesday, 16 June 2021
Our Electrical Contracts Manager, Gareth Evans, signed up with Prostate Cancer UK to raise awareness and take part in their fund raising challenge “March the Month”. The challenge was to walk 11,000 steps a day (5.5 miles or 9km) throughout the month of March. Gareth kindly shared his journey following his diagnosis with Prostate Cancer and why he took on the March the Month challenge!
"Prostate Cancer UK is a charity very close to me after being diagnosed with Prostate Cancer in February 2020 with no obvious symptoms. Following great support from both the NHS and Prostrate Cancer UK I had a prostatectomy in July 2020. One of the reasons for doing March the Month was to try and raise awareness amongst young men and remove the belief that Prostate Cancer only affects the older generation.
I thought this would be a good challenge for me to take on for both my physical & mental health during the latest lockdown. On days I was working on site, I didn’t count most of those steps and would go walking around the village when I got home. On days I was working from home, I would head out at 6am and walk 4 miles before work and walk another 3-4 miles after work. At the weekend I would meet up with a friend and walk 8-9 miles on a Saturday and 6 miles on Sunday mornings.
As I hadn’t been very active during the last lockdown, after Week 1 my legs were feeling it and I was suffering with shin splints. However, cancer doesn't rest and this was a challenge that wasn’t meant to be easy so I kept going!
I set a target of raising £100 and at the beginning sent my JustGiving link to family and friends, I was amazed that even during these challenging times I was quickly passed the target and pushing £1,000.
Our company's employee wellbeing challenge 'Spring into Action' had also started and our London team captain, Melania, suggested our team charity would be Prostate Cancer UK as she noticed the hash tags #marchthemonth #menwearewithyou I was using on my Strava posts. This meant a lot as it would again help in raising awareness, especially across our company as we work in a male dominated industry. Halfway through the month I sent an email out to everyone in Dowds Group (my work family) and within a day of sending the email another £1,000 was added to my JustGiving page, this really motivated me to push on and complete the challenge. I even had a comment about being Dowds own Captain Tom!
By the end of the month I had walked just under 610,000 steps in the month which is about 290 miles or 466km and raised £2,150 for Prostate Cancer UK. Apparently they say that if you can do something for 29 days it can become a habit, this is true for my walking as I am still walking between 4-6 miles a few times a week and I miss it when I don’t get out!
My illness was picked up through a PSA blood test offered by Dowds and I was one of the lucky ones as I got treated before there was any spreading. Hopefully by doing this challenge I have helped raise awareness of Prostate Cancer and the importance of checking yourself!"