Date of TC diagnosis: November 2008
It’s a bit of a shock to be told that you have cancer, but Richard’s a strong believer in the power of positive thinking. The same upbeat attitude that got him through his treatment is now helping him spread a vital awareness message across the South-West. He’s been lucky enough to talk about TC on the radio (even doing an interview from France) and on the TV!
Bowled over by the care and compassion they’d received from the BHOC team, Richard and fellow patient Mike Morgan came up with the idea of the Testicular Ball. This wittily named event has now become a major fundraising fixture in It’s in the Bag’s calendar.
Richard’s a keen sportsman, a supporter of Bath Rugby and Plymouth Argyle, and a coach at City of Bath Hockey Club. In his spare time he’s Headteacher of a primary school in Bath – a background that’s made him especially keen to get IITB’s message into schools and sports clubs. A sustainable awareness programme is what’s needed, and Richard’s on the case…
Sue’s official title of ‘Germ Cell Clinical Nurse Specialist’ is a bit of a mouthful! But it’s just another way of saying she’s a highly qualified nurse, and an expert in testicular cancer.
Since 2008, part of Sue’s NHS duties have been to develop and improve care for testicular cancer patients. However, by co-founding It’s in the Bag and being instrumental in its development, she’s gone way above and beyond the call of duty.
Having got the charity fund off the ground along with Rob, Sue led the ‘call to arms’ for the first volunteers. Since then she’s contributed to many organisational areas, including being a key future strategy developer for the fund. Sue’s current role is IITB Chair.
When Sue got involved in IITB, she thought it would be the last push before she retired. It turned into much more than she’d bargained for! But she’s not complaining. “Thinking up new ideas, using the word ‘ball’ as much as possible and having fun with new campaigns is just wonderful.”
Sarah’s husband, David, was diagnosed with testicular cancer in February 2014, just a few months after he had left the public sector to pursue a career in the private sector.
Sarah and David were introduced to It’s in the Bag a few months later when David’s treatment was transferred to Bristol. Unfortunately, David died in May 2016, aged 33
Sarah wanted to give something back to It’s in the bag after the great support her family had received throughout David’s treatment.
Catherine’s husband was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2013. While in the early stages of recovery, he benefited greatly from the emotional support provided by It’s in the Bag. The positive impact that the charity has on the lives of testicular cancer patients and their families, which Catherine witnessed first-hand, made her want to volunteer.
Date of TC diagnosis: May 2012
Nigel has worked with charities in the past, and once he’d experienced how effectively It’s in the Banter could take a weight off his mind, he got inspired to volunteer for IITB. His special area in the Strategy Group is the charity fund’s support activities. By taking part in planning and setting budgets, he helps make sure TC patients are supported in the most effective way.
Out of all the IITB events he’s attended, Nigel’s stand-out memory is of an unexpected victory at five-a-side football. He’d only planned to be there to blow the whistle; next thing he knew he was being handed a shirt! Despite being one of the two oldest guys playing on the same side, Nigel and his teammates went on to win without conceding a goal. What a way to celebrate survival!
Jeremy’s been involved in IITB since the very early days, so he’s been lucky enough to witness how its initiatives have transformed the Bristol Testicular Cancer Service. He’s honoured to be holding the Vice-Chair position in a nationally recognised, award-winning charity fund!
Jeremy’s what they call a ‘Consultant Medical Oncologist’ – a cancer doctor. He specialises in testicular, breast and lung cancer treatments, and is lead clinician for the BTCS. This keeps him out of mischief most of the time, although you may occasionally catch him jumping off a tall building for charity, or behind the bar at The Castle of Comfort pulling pints!
When he can get away from work, Jeremy loves to spend time with his family, and is slowly managing to restore their old house on the Mendips.
Dr David Little
Date of TC diagnosis: April 2010
David was involved with It’s in the Bag during the launch of the ‘Keep Calm and Check Your Balls’ campaign. After a couple of years away to concentrate on his medical exams, he is excited to be back and involved in shaping the direction of IITB. David continues to have a keen interest in the awareness side of IITBs work.
David is training to be a Consultant Radiologist (a doctor that looks at scans of patients and helps other doctors work out what is wrong and what to do next), a career that was partly inspired by his diagnosis of TC back in 2010.
Outside of work David is a cat lover and big fan of Twitter, often combining the two by posting pictures of his cats; Salem and Giles.
When I was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer, I was shocked and lost. It’s in the Bag put me in touch with men who had been through the treatment and come out the other side. They also supported my wife through my cancer journey, providing the opportunity her to talk to other wives, girlfriends and mothers who were in the same boat.
It’s in the Bag helped me rebuild myself after my treatment. I had lost confidence, gained weight, and it felt like I forgot who I was before cancer. Through the support of It’s in the Bag, I have been slowly finding myself again. The It’s in the Banter events made me feel like a “normal” man, doing normal things with people who can appreciate how you are feeling. I have made some good friends with guys who share a common thing – we survived cancer.
I firmly believe that, as someone who has had Testicular Cancer I am well placed to use my determination and influence for the greater good. I have been involved in charitable and fundraising work for many years.
My volunteering role for IITB brings me into direct contact with survivors and men recently affected by testicular cancer. Having been diagnosed in May 2016 I am now in remission – a survivor! It is a privilege to be afforded direct access to a charity that allows me to see first-hand, help and influence how IITB helps to make a difference for people in need and strives to raise awareness.
I’m married to Emma and we have 3 children that keep us busy. I’m a manager working for Network Rail and in my spare time I enjoy pottering in my workshop, golf and grabbing weekends away with Emma whenever I can!
Date of TC diagnosis: March 2009
It was a massive shock being diagnosed with cancer but after amazing treatment in Bristol at Southmead hospital and Bristol Oncology I’ve come out the other end and have now been given the amazing opportunity to give back as much as I’m able by volunteering in the Testicular clinic on a Friday morning. With the support of Sue Brand I’m slowly learning to nurture awareness and get the guys in clinic talking. It’s a privilege to be part of IITB.
Tim is a keen cyclist in any spare time he has, which isn’t much but enjoys chilling and living well after cancer as taught to him at the amazing Penny Brohn centre in Pill Bristol.
My son Lewis was diagnosed with testicular cancer in February 2013. It had spread to other organs in his body and he was very poorly. Sue and the IITB team were a tower of strength to me, Lewis and our family during the early weeks of treatment. Other patients in Oncology were quite envious of the charity and the support we as a family were given. Nothing was too much trouble – an explanation of treatment and a shoulder to cry on were given freely. I now want to give something back. It’s a very lonely and frightening experience as a parent. I have a very positive story to share with others to give strength and hope. I have helped out with quite a few awareness and fundraising events, but my favourite was “Splosh for Dosh”, as I’m a swimming teacher and I enjoyed using my skill at a sport to raise money.
I’m helping It’s in the Bag because the charity was really good to me and my family during my treatment.
Now, I can return the favour and help raise much-needed awareness and funds to keep the charity going from strength to strength.
I took on looking after the store because it’s like my little haven where I can make a difference. Whether it’s tidying it up or spending a couple of hours just making up fundraising packs ready for posting, it is all making a difference.
Bill Brand an Essex boy, is married to Sue.
Bill initially came along to meetings as Sue had no way of getting home without him! Soon became the ‘ideas man’ of the team and has generously provided help and support for It’s in the Bag for many years.
Bill is skilled in many ways, he designs seating plans, logos, strap-lines, and has DJ’d for us on many occasions. Bill has recently stepped in as secretary, submitting gift aid claims and helping to support the volunteers.
Bill luckily is the steadying influence for Sue who wants to conquer the world tomorrow.
When Alison first came across IITB she was immediately drawn to the use of humour to spread the word about a very serious illness. Acknowledging that men aren’t always keen to talk about their health, Alison is hoping that another female on the board will help to promote IITB’s activities among women as well as men.
Alison is a Chartered Accountant who has worked in practice and in-house roles. She is aiming to put her financial background to good use in working with the trustees to make the most of what IITB has to offer.
When not crunching numbers, Alison spends her time looking after her two children, growing a lot of veggies at home and playing the French Horn.
Eleanor has worked as a Management PA at the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre for 10 years, working with Clinical and Nursing staff. She enjoys working with fantastic staff and the interaction with patients and looking forward to extending her skills to working with IITB. Over her time at the Bristol Haematology and Oncology Centre she has watched the charity grow, seen the difference it has made to patients and families and also enjoyed supporting some of its events.
When Eleanor is not in the office, she spends her time looking after two young children and getting out on her bike or run when she can.
Date of TC diagnosis: July 2010
As strange as it may sound, Mike considers himself lucky to have had testicular cancer. If it hadn’t been for his TC treatment, he’d never have had the scan where the eagle-eyed consultant spotted the nodules on his thyroid. And his symptomless thyroid cancer wouldn’t have been found for who knows how long. “That’s why I’m involved in the charity,” Mike explains, “to give something back to the fantastic team at BHOC, who basically saved my life!”
Mike went online after hearing about It’s in the Bag and realised that the URL for this website was still free. He went ahead and registered it… and that’s how his involvement started!
Nuts is a monkey who loves a bit of mischief. He can always been found in his trademark It’s in the Bag pants and t-shirt looking for people to play with! Nuts enjoys all the activities that It’s in the Bag get up to. Recently he’s been seen playing 5-a-side football, rocking out at The Wrecking Ball 2 and, of course, raising awareness out and about with the general public. If you ever see Nuts feel free to come and say hello, give him a hug or even take a quick photo. He’s a very friendly monkey!