How it all started. Well it was April 2003 and I was looking forward
that evening to going to a drum clinic show hosted by Steve White
who was my favourite drummer. Steve was Paul Weller's drummer and
had been with Paul since the formation of the Style Council back in
1980. On the very same day as the drum clinic I was told I had
testicular cancer, I missed the show.
going through cancer I felt very lost and alone. I was angry about
not really being told to check my testicles and also the lack of
support for young men. I really just wanted advice and to talk to
someone who had actually been through it. There were charities that
offered help but I wanted someone who knew from personal experience.
One day I decided to contact Steve White through his website asking
when then next drum clinic would be, I explained why I missed his
last one. Steve very kindly replied saying he would be back in
Liverpool in July for a Paul Weller concert and invited me along to
meet him. Backstage, before the show was brilliant, even though I
had only just finished chemo and wasn't feeling that well. I sat and
chatted about Drums with Steve and he introduced me to Paul Weller
with whom I had a wonderful discussion about some of his songs.
I told Steve that I was upset and concerned about the lack of
support and awareness at the time I was diagnosed and he offered to
help with the setting up of a website that was aimed more at younger
men and not so uniformed as the others that would educate and also
offer advice and support, I was really delighted. Not long after
Steve put me in contact with one of his friends who offered to help
me setup the website. Following its launch it soon became apparent
that the website would be very successful. Mick Riley MBE who is a
Sergeant Major in the army and a life long friend who also had
testicular cancer came on board about 9 months later as he wanted to
be involved in raising awareness in the British Armed Forces and has
since been given an MBE for his tireless work.
If I'm honest, I never really wanted to be involved in a charity, I
just wanted to help others in a small way but as interest grew in
the website so did my involvement which was being personally funded.
The costs of travel, promotion, posters, phone bills etc. was taking
a heavy toll on my personal finances so I decided in 2008 to apply
for and was successful in being awarded registered charity status. I
believe that 'checkemlads.com' was the very first '.com' registered
charity ever founded.
We now have a small army of helpers and friends who are all unpaid
survivors and we all really enjoy what we do with checkemlads.com
charity. Some help with support, some with awareness and some do
both. Mark Porter is a survivor from Stoke who really got stuck into
the cause and has taken the charity up to were it should have been
years ago. I'd also like to mention a few others, Matt Wakefield,
Nick O'Hara Smith, Simon Shakeshaft, Shane Rankin, Marc Sheridan and
Andy Coles. We are also involved with other charities and campaigns.
We all have normal day jobs but all make time for such things as
awareness talks in schools and work places, offering telephone
support, awareness through social media and the internet, visiting
hospitals to offer help and advice to men and their families going
through this illness and every year we hold our annual memorial walk
up Mount Snowden in memory of those who have passed through
We hope you find the information and films on this site helpful and
remember don't be alone, get in touch.
To view the
original checkemlads.com website please