Three well known NSW triathlon old guys got together recently to form a triathlon team for the Huskisson round of the triseries. Ken Price, Tim Matthews and Jim Prendergast all had a common connection. Before being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2012, Jervis Bay resident Ken Price knew very little about the disease and after a lifetime of participation in various sports, subconsciously assumed that because he was very fit and healthy it was of no real concern to him. The diagnosis certainly shattered this complacency and brought home the fact that even otherwise very healthy people are not immune from the disease!
Despite going through a tough time both physically and emotionally after the operation to remove the cancer, Ken is now back competing in his favourite sports of cycling and triathlon. However he wondered whether he could use the experience in a positive way and having long admired the work done to raise cancer awareness by the Lance Armstrong Foundation (Livestrong), wondered if he might be able to do something similar, but on a more modest scale? From this grew the idea of the Pro-State Triathlon Project, which broadly aims to:
- Raise awareness about prostate cancer and the need to have regular medical checkups amongst triathletes, and their families, many of whom will eventually develop the disease.
- Make triathletes aware that prostate cancer, does not necessarily mean the end of their sporting participation and that continuing doing triathlons may in fact assist in their recovery both physically and mentally.
- Raise money for prostate cancer research through tax-deductible donations to the Prostate Cancer Foundation of Australia and the sale of t-shirts.
As a first step, Ken entered a team in the sprint race at the Husky Triathlon on November 4, called the Pro-State Triathlon Team and consisting of himself and two other triathletes who have survived prostate cancer. Much to their surprise and despite having a combined age of 186 years, the Pro-States actually managed to come away with a gold medal in a time of just over 1 hour 16 minutes against much younger teams! Not bad for a bunch of old cancer survivors!
After the race, Elite Energy, the organizers the Husky Triathlon, offered free entry to any one of their races this season, for all competitors over 50 who had competed that day and were subsequently screened for prostate cancer. This generous and unexpected gesture was greatly appreciated by the Pro-States and is hopefully an indication of support to come?
But it’s not just about getting out with your mates and having fun. Since his operation, Ken has met and talked with dozens of men that who have had prostate cancer, including other triathletes. He also learnt that the disease is more prevalent amongst men than breast cancer is amongst women, killing about 100 people a day in the USA and eventually affects a frightening proportion of men. It is an urgent and somewhat neglected disease, which begs more research funding and co-ordinated support for sufferers, many of whom are distressed and embarrassed by their plight and being men, are hesitant to discuss their issues.
Anyone wanting further information or to purchase a t-shirt is welcome to phone Ken on 0426 270 980 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, they can make a donation to help prostate cancer research at http://pcfafundraising.org.au/Pro-State_Triathlon_Project