Giving up fine dining to go on a diet is going to hit Warwick wine merchant Alastair MacBrayne harder than most.
The self-confessed “bon viveur” started out at nearly 25 stone. But he’s already lost 8lbs after decided to get cracking on a sponsored slim in aid of the Graham Fulford Charitable Trust which tests men for prostate cancer.
The Warwick-based trust, which has been run by Graham Fulford for the past ten years, has so far carried out some 42,000 PSA tests resulting in the early diagnosis of more than 800 prostate cancers.
The simple, but potentially life-saving blood tests, are largely carried out in social surroundings such as the session being held in a room at Warwick Racecourse tomorrow (Saturday) afternoon.
But thanks to generous grants and the efforts of other fundraisers, like Mr MacBrayne, the trust has now taken on experienced phlebotomist Wendy Hodkinson who can now offer tests at their new offices in Smith Street. Wendy will also track some 34,000 existing PSA results on computer where borderline results can be monitored for any further changes.
Mr MacBrayne, aged 68, who is also standing as the Warwick and Leamington Ukip parliamentary candidate this year, said: “I want to lose four stone and in the process raise £5,000 by asking for sponsorship. This charity does wonderful work in raising men’s awareness of the need to keep a careful eye on the health of their prostate.”
Mr Fulford was delighted when Mr MacBrayne launched his slimming drive at The Punch Bowl in Warwick where landlady Claire Rowbotham has promised her full support - even if it means actively discouraging his alcohol intake.
Some NHS trusts are less keen on mass testing for PSA results because they believe in the past it has sometimes led to unnecessary surgical treatment.
But Mr Fulford says: “It’s generally accepted that in the UK 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostrate cancer every year. Some doctors still think mass testing isn’t effective because it could lead to a decision about treatment that is not necessary. But we have the lowest detection rate for this form of cancer in Europe.
“There is also now a sophisticated grading system in which those tested who have a PSA between one and six do not need treatment, those with a score of seven are borderline and can make their own decision whether to go for a biopsy or wait a little longer, while those with scores of between eight and ten definitely need some treatment.”
Sponsorship forms are available at The Punch Bowl and a Just Giving website has been set up at www.justgiving.com/grahamfulford/donate. Supporters can also email firstname.lastname@example.org