Family in bid to raise awareness of simple test that could help save lives

PUBLISHED: 07:59 31 May 2019

Darren Gregory and Chris Collings are running a series of marathons to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK

Darren Gregory and Chris Collings are running a series of marathons to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK

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John Collings died last year aged 67 from prostate cancer, without having any obvious symptoms, until it was too late.

Now his family has begun an awareness campaign to encourage other men to take blood tests.

John's wife, Maureen, his son Chris and brother-in-law, Darren Gregory, want to raise awareness and they are fundraising for the charity Prostate Cancer UK.

The family is holding a string of events including sales, raffles and marathons.

They began on March 31 with a quiz night and afternoon tea and have already raised £5,000.

Maureen said: "I want to say 'thank you' to the businesses in Dunmow, nearly every one in town centre has given us generous raffle prizes."

They include wine, gift vouchers, hair products as well as fruit and vegetables for the catering for all the events from the Modern Greengrocer.

John, a school facilities manager, was well known in Dunmow. The family have planned an event each month for the rest of the year.

These include a barbecue and Pimms afternoon in August, the John Collings memorial bench press competition at Koru Gym in Bishop's Stortford, in September, a Halloween quiz night in October, a bring and buy sale in November, and a stall at the Dunmow shopping event in December.

Meanwhile Chris, 26, and Darren, 51, have run the Gayton 10k and the London Marathon and are planning to tackle the Colchester 10k this month, the Southend Half Marathon in June, the Dunmow to Walton-on-the-Naze bike ride in July, the Clacton Half Marathon in August, the Great North Run in September, the Havering Half Marathon in October, the Hertfordshire Half Marathon in November and other runs next year.

John died in February 2018. Maureen said: "We want to encourage other men to go to their GPs and ask for a test.

"John didn't drink or smoke and he went to the gym two or three times a week. By the time he was diagnosed it was too late. The first test doesn't have to be intrusive it can start with a blood test. Every man over 50 needs to be checked out.

"If he had known he could have had a blood test, he would have asked for one when he turned 60. As it was he was diagnosed in December 2014 and given three years to live."

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