Styal Running Club’s Tony Collier BEM on living with prostate cancer – Knutsford Guardian


Posted: December 6, 2020 at 2:57 pm

A MAN with incurable cancer is among the Styal Running Club athletes hitting into full stride this week to complete their Race to The North Pole Challenge.

Around 35 runners have been smashing daily targets to complete, over 12 days, a combined 2,600 miles the distance from Manchester to the North Pole.

The challenge is raising funds for The Childrens Adventure Farm Trust, with more than 1,300 donated so far, while also helping members physical and mental wellbeing.

One of the inspirational runners is Tony Collier BEM, who has been on a mission of generating awareness and funds since his prostate cancer diagnosis three years ago.

The 63-year-old semi-retired accountant, who has run 30 miles over the past five days, is determined to continue his activity levels despite his illness and has revealed the difficulties he has been overcoming in order to run.

I was diagnosed in May 2017, de novo stage 4 and told I may have as little as two years to live, said Tony, a founder member of the running club and one of its two coaches, having been treasurer and secretary previously.

Thankfully Ive responded well to the treatment which is keeping the cancer at bay for now. It wont work forever as the cancer is quite clever and finds a way around the treatment Side effects of the treatment, effectively chemical castration by removing testosterone, are grim.

The impact on me as a runner has been huge. Weight gain due to steroids, loss of muscle mass due to no testosterone so its much hard to power the runs reduced bone density, and horrendous fatigue etc.

But I am thankfully still able to run and Ive run or hiked (some days both) every day since May 1. Im loads slower, cant run as far, but Im still doing something I love and I took my coaching badge so that I can stay involved when I can no longer participate.

Tony is a volunteer awareness speaker for Prostate Cancer UK and is hoping his story can help others.

I usually do in the region of two or three talks every month to raise awareness of prostate cancer and make sure as many men as possible dont end up like me, he said.

I was shocked when I was diagnosed that Id had the right to a PSA blood test every year from age 50 and, if Id known that and had them, I could have been diagnosed early and cured.

They told me that Id probably had it for 10 years, and Id had no symptoms whatsoever most men diagnosed early have no symptoms.

I had been training to run an ultra marathon in South Africa on June 4, 2017 but a groin strain was hampering my training so I saw a sports injuries doctor and we pre-arranged an MRI scan.

When he saw the scan he sent me for chest x-rays, blood tests and the following day a CT scan and you obviously dont need those for a groin strain.

It turned out to be prostate cancer pretty much throughout my skeleton from pelvis to skull and the pain was coming from stress fractures of the pelvis. I literally went from training for an ultra marathon to terminally ill in 36 hours!

Tony set up 5K Your Way at Wilmslow Parkrun last year to help support people living with and beyond cancer to get back into or start exercising because doing so is seen as vital to preparation for treatment or surgery as well as aiding rehabilitation.

We meet at Wilmslow Parkrun on the final Saturday of every month and we do the 5k our way, said Tony, who was awarded the BEM in the Queens birthday honours last year in recognition of his services to charity, fundraising and the community.

Most of us walk while we talk, some jog, some run, some volunteer, he said. Then the magic happens when we go for coffee, cake, breakfast and we become a mutual support group helping each either cope via shared experience. We cant wait to be allowed to resume Parkrun next year.

To donate to Styal Running Clubs fundraising efforts, visit justgiving.com/fundraising/StyalRunningClubRaceToTheNorthPole

Styal's runners have reached Iceland, virtually, having clocked up 1000 miles in the first four days.

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Styal Running Club's Tony Collier BEM on living with prostate cancer - Knutsford Guardian

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